Disilgold Soul Magazine Interview w/ Zoe Saldana featured in Star Trek this Friday!- Check out Interview!


 

We are way to excited to get the 411 on  Star Trek, one of our favorite anticipated movies  headed to the big screen this Friday from mega- actress Zoe Saldana herself and guess what, if you didn’t know who the lady is in the previews on airwaves, it’s Zoe.

She’s the first Domincan woman ever to star in the film series so we are so proud of Zoe whose looks our Disilgold SOUL men crave and the ladies have to give props, but said they’ll throw a book at me if I say anything, so I will keep  you guys who are fans of Zoe  a secret, but  she’s is here. 

 We also,  just found out that Tyler Perry is in the movie. For all of you Trekies, check out the  Up Close and PerSOULnal Interview   of Zoe Saldana with celebrity interviewer himself,  Kam Williams.

When you’re done visit www.disilgold.com for new photos of Zoe today for the Daily Literary Dish Top Story.  We have a comment box feature for any  fans of Zoe out there who may want to share their feedback of Zoe in the movie to go ahead and give props to a fab actress on the rise.  We’re Bringing the Heat.

 

Zoe Saldana 

 The Star Trek Interview

 with Kam Williams

 

Headline: Saldana Does Star Trek: Beam Me Aboard, Zoe!

 

Given Zoë Saldaña’s meteoric rise, it only makes sense that the flick that finally rockets her to the heights of superstardom would be an intergalactic adventure like Star Trek. Previously, you might have seen this striking ballet dancer-turned-actress as the late Bernie Mac’s daughter who was dating Ashton Kutcher in Guess Who, playing second-banana to Britney Spears in Crossroads, as the love interest of Nick Cannon in Drumline, opposite Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, with Forest Whitaker and Dennis Quaid in Vantage Point, or directed by Steven Spielberg in The Terminal alongside Ton Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  

Last year, the photogenic fashion plate made People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World list (see http://www.people.com/people/package/gallery/0,,20193583_20196426_15,00.html) and she was also name #42 on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2008.

Here, she reflects on portraying Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek, a role originated on TV by Nichelle Nichols in 1966. 

 

ZS: Hi Kam.

KW: Thanks so much for another interview, Zoe.

ZS: Of course, of course.

KW: The last time we spoke was a year ago, and we only touched on Star Trek slightly back then. Let me ask you this. Was it at all intimidating becoming a part of a film franchise that fans take so seriously and even attend conventions for?

ZS: I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t have any concerns about it. I did ask myself, “Do I really want to take on that kind of pressure?” and take the risk of not being well received by the fans or of becoming typecast so early in my career. But in talking with J.J. [director J.J. Abrams], I became curious about the fact that he had been more of a Star Wars than a Star Trek fan. And what convinced me was that he had just such a beautiful vision for the film. I figured if he was taken with these characters, I definitely didn’t want to be left out.

KW: How familiar were you with Star Trek prior to taking on the role?

ZS: I never really watched the TV series. And after J.J. offered me the part, I wanted to see it even less, because I was so afraid of falling victim to what we sometimes do as actors, which is to imitate. I felt that Nichelle Nichols did not deserve that, and neither did my character. Plus, because I would be playing a much younger Uhura who’s not quite on the [Spaceship] Enterprise yet, it gave me an opportunity to innovate. So, she’s not comfortable in her own skin… she’s finding it really hard… she’s very studious… These were the sort of things I focused on, and I only hope that the fans receive it well.

KW: How has Nichelle Nichols received it?

ZS: She was very happy, when she I met her on the set. She was pleased that J.J. was the one revamping the Star Trek franchise, and that I was playing Uhura.

KW: How did that make you feel?

KW: Did she offer any pointers about playing Uhura?

ZS: Her advice was just to run with it, to follow my gut, and that whatever I was going to do for Uhura, to do it well.

KW: Lt. Uhura is a linguist. Are you good with languages?

ZS: I speak two languages, and I would like to learn more.

KW: How was it working with the rest of the cast on the set?

ZS: It was very enjoyable because the atmosphere was so light and we all became great friends. The chemistry that transpired was very, very natural and genuine. That made me so happy because it’s not often that you get to go to work with people you want to see everyday and who you have so much fun creating with.

KW: The buzz on this film has certainly been very positive. Everybody who’s seen it is saying the franchise has been totally revitalized.

ZS: Gosh, that makes me feel so good. If it could make a believer out of me, trust me, it can make a believer out of anyone. I hadn’t been familiar with the series, although I did know about that one dude with the pointy ears. 

KW: Spock.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

ZS: None that come up right now, but I wish you would give me a day to think about it and get back to me. 

KW: Okay, the Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

ZS: I always strive to keep a balance with my fears. I don’t like to be ruled by them. At the same time, I don’t like the idea of living my life totally free of any fears. I like having that moderation.

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

ZS: Earlier this week.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

ZS: I’ve been reading The Catcher in the Rye. It’s the kind of book I get a little concerned about being seen reading in public. So, I only read it when I’m at home. But the last book that I fully read was Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo. 

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to nowadays? 

ZS: Right now, I’m listening to Pink.

KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

ZS: The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is being a woman in a man’s world.

KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

ZS: I’d say my niece.

KW: How did it feel to be named to People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World list last year?

  1.   

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

ZS: I see Zoe.

KW: How do you feel about Obama’s becoming President?

ZS: So happy! It was so appropriate, and it let me know that sometimes we have to be patient because the one thing that is inevitable in life is evolution. Whether it comes at the pace that we are expecting it or not, it’s inevitable.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

ZS: To work and to love working, because I find it really frustrating when people go, “I want to be famous and glamorous like you.” It’s hard for me not to have a bad thought when someone says that to me, since if there’s anything this business is not, is glamorous. It’s only glamorous for maybe five minutes every now and then. Mostly, it’s very arduous work which calls for serious commitment and passion. Plus, half the time you will not get paid what you feel you deserve, if anything at all. So, you have to be very committed and find happiness in the work that you do.       

KW: What’s on the horizon for you?

ZS: I cannot wait for you to get a glimpse of Avatar.

KW: Directed by James Cameron

ZS: I am so proud of all the work that he’s done with the film over the past 10 years. And the cast has put in 2½ years of our love, dedication and sweat into the project. To finally get the opportunity to share it with you all is going to be the best perk. I’m actually sort of tired now. I get really sleepy around this time, because the work has been done with Star Trek when it comes to the interviews and publicity. Now, I can honestly go to bed, wait for the premiere and only pray that the film is going to be well received by the audience. And in a couple of months, I’m going to have to do it again for Avatar. It’s necessary, and it’s so beautiful, and when it works, it’s so rewarding.  

KW: Well, thanks again, Zoe. It looks like a real breakout year for you between Star Trek and Avatar.

ZS: Thank you. Have a good day. Bye.

To see a trailer for Star trek, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScHxUopDlKc

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DISILGOLD.COM CELEBRITY INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE FOXX OF THE SOLOIST- IN THEATERS- APRIL 24th


 

 

Jamie Foxx “The Soloist” Interview with Kam Williams Headline: Kam Goes Solo with Jamie Texas native Jamie Foxx was born Eric Marlon Bishop on December 13, 1967 and raised by his grandparents from the age of seven months following the failure of his parents’ marriage. Although he was a star athlete at Terrell High on both the school’s football and basketball teams, he majored in classical music and composition in at the U.S. International University in California.

The versatile actor/comedian/singer/musician/writer/producer/director got his start in showbiz in 1989 when he went on stage on a dare on open mic night and tried his hand at standup. After spending time on the comedy circuit, he joined Keenan Ivory Wayans, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and Tommy Davidson in the landmark Fox sketch comedy series “In Living Color,” creating some of the show’s funniest and most memorable moments.

In 1996, he launched his own series, “The Jamie Foxx Show,” which was one of the top-rated programs on the WB Network during its five-year run. Jamie not only starred on the series but also was the co-creator and executive producer, and directed several episodes. He made his big screen in Toys in 1992, followed by appearances in Booty Call and The Players Club. He received critical acclaim for his riveting work and in Any Given Sunday and as Bundini Brown in Ali, breakout roles which inexorably led to 2004, the Year of the Foxx, when he delivered a trio of powerful performances in Ray, Collateral and Redemption.

He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the legendary Ray Charlesas well as the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), BAFTA and NAACP Image Awards. Jamie simultaneously garnered Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG Award, BAFTA Award, and Image Award nominations in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his work in Collateral. And he landed Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations and won an Image Award for his portrayal of condemned gang member-turned-Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stan “Tookie” Williams in Redemption.

 That amazing feat marked the first time that a single actor has received three Golden Globe nominations and four SAG Award nominations in the same year. Foxx has since appeared in Dreamgirls, Miami Vice, Jarhead and The Kingdom, and will next star in the drama Law Abiding Citizen directed by F. Gary Gray. Besides his outstanding work in front of the camera, Jamie has also achieved a thriving career in music. His eagerly-anticipated J Records debut, “Unpredictable,” was nominated for eight Billboard Music Awards, three Grammy Awards, one Soul Train Music Award and two American Music Awards, for which he won Favorite Male Artist. And his second album, “Intuition,” was just released last December to rave reviews.

Here, he talks about his new movie, The Soloist, a true story in which he plays Nathaniel Ayers, a Juilliard-trained child prodigy, who ended up homeless after developing schizophrenia. In the film, Ayers is befriended by Steve Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.), an L.A. Times reporter who hears him playing the violin in the park.

KW: Jamie, I loved The Soloist and I’m so honored to get this time with you.

JF: Thank you, bro.

 KW: My first question is, did you get to meet Nathaniel Ayers on the streets in preparing to portray him?

JF: Yes I did. As a matter of fact, I snuck downtown with a little bit of a disguise and a security cat, and I just hung out right next to Nathaniel. He had no idea that I was watching him. I got a chance to see him speak to the world, and get excited, and be happy, and sad, and play his music. And I saw him preach. Watching that I was able to gather a lot of great information about who this guy was that I was about to play, without hearing anybody’s opinion of him, but just from my firsthand look at him. Later, I was formally introduced to him, and he was on his best behavior. He smiled because he gets it that they were going to do a movie about his life. And then you see him not get it, and wondering, “What’s going n here?” And then he’d swing back around and get it again. So, it was very interesting. And while all that was happening, I had a video camera on my phone that I used to record him the whole time. So, I came home, watched that footage, the footage I filmed when he wasn’t watching, and the footage I filmed when he was aware.

 KW: How did you prepare for the role after that?

JF: It was a matter of putting him together. Losing the weight… getting the hair right… getting the makeup right… and going to that place that I have feared going to for a long time, that is, losing your mind.

KW: What made you afraid of that?

 JF: As a child I always feared losing my mind. There was a guy in my neighborhood who always walked up and down the street talking to himself. I won’t say his name, but I would always go, “Ooh, that’s scary.” And then, when I was 18, I had a horrible experience when somebody slipped something into my drink. It was a college prank that really went bad, and I hallucinated for 11 months. The doctors said that sometimes people go and they never come back. I was lucky enough to get back, but the way I recovered was by playing music all the time, because I was in a music school. Isn’t it interesting that Nathaniel Anthony Ayers had a similar situation?

KW: Very.

JF: So, at one point while preparing for this movie I woke my manager at like three in the morning, saying, “I got it, I’m him, I know exactly what’s going on. Nathaniel says this, that and the other, because he feels this way and that way. I used to do the same thing when I was in college. I played music, and the reason we play music is so we can soothe ourselves. I’m him!”

KW: How did your manger respond?

 JF: He goes, “Foxx, I’m on way over to your house, because this is a little strange.” And when he gets there, I’m telling him all these different things which to him sounded like I was losing my mind. But to me, it made perfect sense, and that’s who Nathaniel Anthony Ayers is. Everything that he’s doing makes perfect sense to him. That’s why when Steve Lopez says, “You need help,” Nathaniel responds, “No, you don’t get it. This is what it is. This is what makes me feel comfortable. This is not your mind. This is my mind.” So, there were a lot of different parallels going on.

KW: After seeing The Soloist, I spoke to the film’s director, Joe Wright, because I was upset that it hadn’t been released last fall during Oscar season like originally planned. It struck me as a cross of A Beautiful Mind and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But I think you did a better job at conveying the feeling of insanity than either of those other pictures, which were both excellent, too.

JF: Thanks.

KW: Joe told me that you filmed on location on Skid Row and hired a lot of the homeless as extras. What was that like?

JF: It was interesting. I learned to have a different outlook on Skid Row. I arrived with my bravado, being an urban kid from the country, and thinking that there were people there out to get you. There’s gangbanging going on on Skid Row… people selling drugs… people on the come up… So, I went down there with an attitude like, “Yo, I’m going down here, but I’m watching my back.” But I quickly learned that that wasn’t what it was all about. They were mostly people who were really just trying to survive and to hold onto the little bit of human dignity they had left. I met actors down there, lawyers, and people who had been released too early from mental institutions that had turned their backs on them. People who had been living a couple of paychecks from being homeless, and then something bad happened, they lost everything, and now they don’t know how to get back. I learned a lot of lessons, so when I look at them now, I don’t think of them in the same way that I used to. I have to thank Joe Wright for that.

KW: It reminds me of how when I was watching the State of the Black Union recently, I saw former TV talk show host Iyanla Vanzant talking about recently becoming homeless. And she had been an attorney and a best-selling author.

JF: Yeah, it blows your mind, man, because you never know where you might be. That was another thing I said to my manager that night, “And this is what’s going to happen: I’m going to lose all my money. I’m going to lose this house, and I’m going to end up homeless.” And to me, it really felt like that could happen. And sometimes, in those situations, it really can.

KW: When you mentioned videotaping Nathaniel, it reminded me of a video I saw of you on the internet at the presidential inauguration where you were using your phone to tape a student from the Naval Academy, Chidiebere Kalu, singing acappella in his dress uniform.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5CgQgDwL_k&feature=player_embedded   

 He actually happens to be a friend of my son, who’s producing some tracks with him. Were you really impressed with Kalu?

JF: Yes, he just text-messaged me. I let him know to have some patience. I’m trying to get it all together, so when I come to him it’s real legit. [Jamie starts singing the same song Kalu sings on youtube]. Whatever that song was, I called him on his answering machine, and said, “Young man, I’ve got some great ideas for you, I’m just trying to put it all together.” I think we could really do something special with him. When I listened to his music, I just didn’t think that was the way he should go. I think that he could stay clean. He could be a real beacon coming from the military, doing some great inspirational music that would also sell. I don’t want him to feel like he’s corny, because I know he’s got his thing going. But with some of the music I heard, I was like, “That’s cool,” but we need to find the right music for him and then capitalize on where he’s coming from. This video footage I have of him is just amazing!

KW: Is there any question no one has ever asked you, that you wish someone would?

 JF: Yes, there’s a question. How come they don’t ask me about how great I play ping-pong?

 KW: Okay, how great do you play ping-pong?

JF: I’m bad! I will challenge anybody. Don’t even think about it. Unless you’re left-handed and from China, you don’t have a chance.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

 JF: All the time.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

 JF: Yes!

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

JF: Every day, man. [Chuckles] If you hang out with me, you’d see. I hang out with all comedians.

KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live?

JF: I live on a farm outside of L.A., about an hour away. On a 40-acre avocado farm.

 KW: Jimmy also wants to know, when did you think that an Oscar was attainable? When you left Texas? When you were on In Living Color?

JF: When we attained it. K

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

JF: To be honest, Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

http://www.amazon.com/GREEN-EGGS-HAM-Dr-Seuss/dp/B000GLWLBE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240250958&sr=8-2    

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to?

JF: Intuition. http://www.amazon.com/Intuition-Jamie-Foxx/dp/B001JQHT6W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1240251040&sr=1-1

 KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

JF: Ooh… The biggest obstacle? The mental obstacle of thinking that just because I was African-American that I couldn’t have it all.

 KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

JF: Barack Obama.

KW: The Laz Alonso question: Is there anything your fans can do to help you?

JF: By always telling me if it’s good, bad, or all right.

 KW: Reverend Florine Thompson asks, if someone produces is a movie about the life of President Obama would you consider playing him?

JF: [Answers doing an impressive Obama impersonation that sounds just like the President] If there’s any indication, that America is not the most incredible country in the world… [Chuckles] Yes I would.

KW: And the good Reverend had a follow-up, who would you like to see cast in the role of Michelle Obama?

JF: Hmm, who would it be? Halle Berry.

KW: Reverend Thompson also says grandmothers have played an exceptional role in the black experience, and that in your song, “I Wish You Were Here,” you pay tribute to and share about your grandmother. She asks what role did your grandmother play in your life and how did she influence your spirituality?

JF: She gave me everything. She gave me the tools to be who I am, from music to athletics to knowing how to be a gentleman. She did it all.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman wants to know whether you still get royalties from Booty Call?

JF: [LOL] Yes, but they’re very small checks.

KW: Marianne Ilaw was wondering whether you would consider recording an old school R&B album updating hits from the Seventies.

JF: [Pauses to think about it] Umm…. No.

KW: Keith Kremer asks if you’re Ugly Girl character from In Living Color going to make a cameo appearance in one of your future movies?

 JF: Yes.

KW: Finally, aspiring scriptwriter Chris Carden says he’s got a great screenplay he wants you to read.

 JF: That’s okay.

KW: Well, thanks again for a great interview, Jamie and good luck with the film.

JF: Thanks, bro. To see a trailer for The Soloist, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrrLJT4YS9I  To see the video of Navy Midshipman Chidiebere Kalu singing for Jamie Foxx at the Presidential inauguration, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5CgQgDwL_k&feature=player_embedded

Disilgold SOUL Magazine Candid Interview With New Movie Producer Morris Chestnut on www.disilgold.com


 

Heather Covington’s HEATLIST COUNTDOWN NEWS

Visit www.disilgold.com for TOP STORY PHOTOS

Morris Chestnut Discussses Makings of  New Movie, Not Easily Broken  w/ Celebrity Interviewer Kam Williams

I remember Morris Chestnut in the movie, Boyz in the Hood, one of my favorite movies. I always said, Morris Chestnut would be an exceptional actor along the lines of Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishbourne and Westley Snipes, but it was a shocker to find out that he  produced the movie, “Not Easily Broken,” with an all star cast. Kam really gets candid with Morris Chestnut who we hardly hear anything about, but now you’ll find out why.I can respect Morris for this interview and will be looking out for the movie on BLU-RAY to further support this producer on the rise. I know producers are dissecting this interview right now and actors because it is quite interesting to get into the mind of an actor turned producer. You never know one’s potentional. People use to  tell Steven Spielberg to move over while riding the train and look at him today. All I can say is Morris Chestnut’s new movie is classy and for the title alone and cast, I am supporting it.”- Heather Covington- Editor-in-Chief of Disilgold SOUL Literary Review- www.disilgold.com.

 

Visit hundreds more top interviewed guests at www.disilgold.com

Born in Cerritos, California on New Year’s Day in 1969, Morris Chestnut was a student-athlete in high school but focused on finance and drama at California State University. Although he made his big screen debut in 1991 opposite Ice Cube in John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood, he really found his breakout role eight years later as the groom-to-be in Malcolm Lee’s The Best Man. Since then, the handsome hunk has been a staple of romance-themed, urban-oriented fare, appearing in such hits as The Brothers, Two Can Play That Game, Breakin’ All the Rules and The Perfect Holiday. Chestnut has also displayed his versatility by successfully crossing over into mainstream flicks, appearing in everything from Half Past Dead to Like Mike to Confidence to Ladder 94 to The Game Plan. A very private family man, Morris keeps a low profile in suburban L.A., where he lives with his wife, Pam, and their son and daughter. Here, he talks about both producing and performing in Not Easily Broken, a romance drama based on a novel by Bishop T.D. Jakes. The modern morality play which co-stars Oscar-nominee Taraji Henson is just being released on DVD after opening in theaters back in January.

MC: Hey, what’s up Kam?

KW: Thanks for the time, Morris. MC: No problem, man.

KW: How did you like my review of Not Easily Broken? I gave it four stars.

 MC: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

KW: What interested you in making this movie?

MC: It was a couple of things. First of all, I’ve been married thirteen years now, so, I related to my character, Dave. I saw it as a great opportunity to have a platform, at this time in our society when a lot of people have money and marital problems, to make a statement that everything worth having takes some work. When people are courting, many of them think that when they get married, that’s it, and everything will be on Easy Street. But you really have to work even harder once you’re married, because the challenges are that much greater. Another part of my interest was the opportunity to step behind the camera to executive produce.

KW: Well, you made an excellent choice in terms of material, an adaptation of a morality play by Bishop T.D. Jakes which is both entertaining and has several worthwhile messages to deliver.

MC: That’s what we wanted, and Jakes would concur with everything I’m about to say about the picture. We wanted it to be entertaining, because if you’re not entertained, you won’t be engaged, and then you’ll miss the subtle messages. Jakes didn’t want folks watching it to feel like they were being preached to as if they were just getting a sermon. He wanted people to be entertained, and if they also get the messages, then the movie will have fully served its purpose.

KW: I thought it was innovative for this genre of film that the other woman [played by Maeve Quinlan] was white.

MC: Quite frankly, I have white, Asian and Hispanic friends in real life. And in the movie, we didn’t make it a big deal that she was white, just like it wasn’t a big deal that my best friend [played by Eddie Cibrian] was white, either. We tried to make it as seamless as possible.

 KW: Yes, the colorblind casting was handled very well, in a way which I think reflects changes in the culture.

 MC: The culture definitely has shifted

. KW: How was it working opposite Taraji Henson as your wife? This has certainly been a big year for her with the Oscar nomination for Benjamin Button.

MC: We were so excited for her when she got the nomination. But back when we cast her for this movie, we didn’t know what quality role she had in Brad Pitt’s movie. And that wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. We already knew that she was a very talented actress who just hadn’t been given the opportunity to play those roles yet. We knew that she could play a professional woman, although she had previously played mostly street-type characters. That was part of what was exciting about giving her the opportunity to play Clarice. And she ripped it.

KW: How about the rest of the cast?

MC: Once we had Taraji, we thought teaming her with Jenifer Lewis to play her mother would definitely enable the audience to empathize with what my character would be feeling. As far as casting Kevin Hart, I just called him. Kevin’s a friend of mine, and we’ve done a couple of things together in the past. The deal with Kevin is, you know you’re going to get something funny, you just don’t know what he’s going to pull out of his big bag of tricks. I actually also called Wood Harris on the phone, and asked him, “Hey man, can you come do this?” It was tough to get him, but we were glad we did, because he delivered a standout performance. Same with Eddie Cibrian. I called him and asked, “Can you do this with me?” It was challenging putting it all together and getting it done, but we feel very fortunate about the outcome.

KW: When I interview actresses, I ask them what actor they’d like to act opposite as a romantic lead, and your name comes up more than anybody’s.

MC: Oh really? That’s something. [Chuckles] KW: Who has been your favorite leading lady from your movies?

MC: Wow! Man, I can’t answer that. [Laughs] I couldn’t pick just one favorite. What I will say is this. Every leading that I’ve worked with has, for the most part, been professional. They came to work on time, knowing their lines, etcetera. Obviously, when you’re working with fine actresses, you’re going to have a few diva moments in there, but all of the women have come to work ready to go, so I’ve been fortunate to have had positive experiences across the board, pretty much. KW: So, what actresses that you haven’t worked with before would you like to have play your leading lady in the future?

MC: Wow, there are so many great actresses out there. I would love to do something with Angela Bassett. She’s so strong. Or Viola Davis. Her scene in Doubt was phenomenal. KW: You seem to be cast as an athlete in a lot of your movies. How do you keep in such great shape for that?

MC: You know what? I’m a weekend warrior. I try to come out and play sports and keep as active as I can.

KW: When did you first develop your interest in acting? MC: It goes back to high school. I wanted to win a scholarship to play football in college. But when that didn’t pan out, I figured I needed to find something else to do. I went to see a friend of mine in junior college who was in a play, and I thought that might be something I could get interested in. From there, I just started pursuing it.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

MC: That’s a good question. I’m kind of a private person, and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get me to talk. I actually have to get myself up for these types of situations. So, no, there’s probably not one particular thing that I want people to know that I’m not being asked about.

 KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

MC: Am I happy in life? I think overall, yes, but I’m not satisfied. Obviously, I can’t complain. 99% of the people in the world would say there’s something that they’d like to change about their lives, because nothing’s perfect, and nobody’s perfect. I suppose I could look at the glass half-empty instead of as half-full. Would I like to do bigger budgeted movies, and have more diverse casts? The answer is yes. But by the same token, I have to feel grateful when I look at people who haven’t been as fortunate as I have been. So, there are always things I’d like to improve on, but at the end of the day, I can’t complain.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

 MC: [LOL] Yeah! Of course. Look at the economic situation right now, people have worked their entire lives to amass a nest egg, expecting to retire, only to have someone like Madoff swindle them out of their money, and suddenly they’ve lost it all and have to start over again. That let’s you know that anything can happen in life. So, yeah, I do get afraid.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

MC: I’m not an avid reader, but the last book I read was How to Play Omaha Poker. I like to play poker, maybe a little too much, but I definitely enjoy it.

 KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to nowadays?

MC: That depends. I’m an R&B and Hip-Hop type guy. When I work out, which I do at least four or five times a week, I love to get the latest Hip-Hop because it really pumps me up and inspires me to get that workout on.

KW: What was the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

MC: Ooh, my shyness. That’s something I have to overcome every time I audition for a job or even do an interview. I’m not really an outgoing type person. My friends are always telling me I have to get out of the house more. Just doing an interview with you takes a lot out of me.

KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

MC: My parents, Shirley and Morris Chestnut, Sr. As a child, I couldn’t really appreciate all the struggles and trials they had to go through in life, and the sacrifices they had to make while raising me. But now, as an adult and parent myself, I do. They’re at the top of my list, because they are the reason I am where I’m at today. I’m a product of their efforts.

KW: Where in L.A. did you grow up?

 MC: I was raised in Orange County, which is about 40 miles outside of Los Angeles.

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan wants to know, where in L.A. you live now?

MC: I live in The Valley, which is about 20 miles away.

 KW: Teri Emerson would like to know when was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

MC: [Laughs] Last time I had a good belly laugh? When I was on the phone with my boys. Me and my friends have these conference calls at least three times a week where we talk mostly about sports and tease each other when your team loses. A lot of my buddies are a lot more creative than I am, and they come up with some very funny jokes.

KW: Who do you like in the NCAAs?

MC: Well, I’m a USC fan, but we were one and done. There are still some storylines I’m looking forward to. These rules violations by Connecticut are making it a little more interesting. I’ve always liked North Carolina because of their colors, that powder blue and white.

KW: The Laz Alonso question: Is there anything your fans can do to help you?

 MC: They can help me by continuing to support me. If I’m in a restaurant, and you see me eating and you want to come up, that’s cool. I get it, I understand, because I have fans who don’t miss a movie and can quote some of my characters’ lines. I appreciate that.

KW: Thanks again for the interview, Morris, and best of luck with all your endeavors.

MC: Thank you.

Share your feedback on the Morris Chestnut Interview 2009 w Kam Williams-  Post feedback on Disilgold@aol.com.

www.Disilgold.com Worldwide Exclusives: The Don Cheadle Interview: Chatting with Cheadle-Star in New Hit Movie “Hotel for Dogs”


 

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 Don Cheadle
The Hotel for Dogs Interview
with Kam Williams

 

 

 

            Donald Frank Cheadle, Jr was born on November 29, 1964 to Don Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, and Betty, a teacher. The chameleon-like character actor with a knack for disappearing into any role has long been recognized by his peers as among the best in the business. But despite a string of critically-acclaimed performances in everything from Devil in a Blue Dress to Rosewood to Crash to Traffic to Talk to Me to Traitor, the closest he has come to landing an Oscar was in 2005 when he was finally nominated for Hotel Rwanda.

Like the African-American answer to perennial soap opera also-ran Susan Lucci, Don has been up for an NAACP Image Award 11 times, but he’s never won inexplicably. Here, he talks about his production company, his humanitarian work in Darfur and the election of Barack Obama, as well as his latest film, Hotel for Dogs, a family comedy co-starring Lisa Kudrow, Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin and Kyla Pratt.

 

KW: Hi Don, it’s an honor to speak with you.                                                              

DC: Hey, thank you very much.

KW: So, what interested you in doing a kiddie comedy?

DC: The truck filled with money that they pulled up to my house. No, it’s one of the first movies that I’ve ever done that my kids could see. I thought this was a good one and I actually liked the script and the relationship that my character has with the kids. Usually, it’s a kids’ world where no adult has a brain, and the kids are so much smarter and so mentally outclass the grownups.   

KW: So, how did your children like the movie?

DC: They haven’t seen it yet.

KW: And how was it working with Lisa Kudrow and the rest of the cast?

DC: Most of my scenes were with the kids. They were great. They were little professionals and serious about the work. They had acting coaches and everything. 

KW: I always think of you and Christian Bale as the best actors who have never won Academy Awards. How does it feel to be snubbed every year at Oscar time?

DC: I don’t care about the Oscars. Quite honestly, when you know what goes into that whole process, it’s very much like a political election. You have to lobby and go to parties. It has nothing to do with your performance. It’s a very political thing that I, personally, don’t enjoy doing. That’s not really on the list of things that I want to achieve in this career.

KW: I can tell as a critic which pictures and performances the studios are getting behind.

DC: It’s all about money nowadays. There was a time when, if you had an Oscar, there was a direct correlation to the push that it made for you at the box office. That’s not so much the case anymore, if you look at the last few years of Oscar-winners and what it did for them box-office wise. The time between the announcement of the nominations and the actual awarding of Oscars, that’s when you make your money. Because that’s when people look at the paper and ask, “Well, what are the critics saying are the good movies out there?” After that, it really doesn’t matter anymore. 

KW: What is on that list on the list you mentioned of things that you want to achieve in your career?

DC: I want to have longevity. I want my production company to be able to stand on its own two feet. I want to produce movies that I don’t have to be in. I just really want to have a foothold in this business and do the kind of work that I can stand by that has value. Hopefully, I’ll be getting this Miles Davis project up and running soon.

KW: I know you play sax. So, will you be playing Miles, even though he was a trumpeter?

DC: Yeah, that’s the plan.

KW: Who are some of your favorite jazz musicians?

DC: I like many guys from that era: Coltrane and Monk and Mingus and a lot of the cats Miles played with like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

KW: What made you want to do a bio-pic about Miles?

DC: I don’t really want to do a bio-pic. I don’t think that would be that interesting. I want to do something that uses his creativity and the energy of who Miles was more than a cradle to grave story about him. A straight biography could be better done by PBS.  

KW: Speaking of PBS, I remember seeing you on the PBS series African American Lives with Skip Gates. How did you like learning about your roots?

DC: It was cool to find out about my lineage. I’d always wanted to trace that back. So, that was fun and very illuminating.

KW: I see that you’ll be replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey in Iron Man 2. Are you planning to overhaul the role?

DC: That’s up to the script and what the director wants. I’m not going to try to do anything that they’re not asking me to do. I don’t get down like that.

KW: I don’t think Rhodey did all that much in the original anyway.

DC: Yeah, the part does expand in the sequel which is much more of a buddy pic than the first one.

KW: I’ve noticed that you sometimes appear uncredited in movies, like in Ocean’s 11 and Rush Hour 2. Why is that?

DC: For different reasons. I did Rush Hour 2 just as kind of a laugh, so I didn’t really need a credit. To me, it was fine if people recognized me. And if they didn’t, that was fine, too. With Ocean’s, there was some stuff that happened behind the scenes that I didn’t like how it went down, so I just said, “Take my name off it.”

KW: Tasha Smith asks: Are you ever afraid?

DC: She wanted you to ask me that?

KW: No, it’s a question she gave me that I ask everybody.

DC: I’m a parent, so I have gradations of apprehension about the kids. I’m afraid that if something happens to them I might not be there and won’t be able to do anything about it. But generally, there’s more sort of a low boil of concern about them. 

KW: What do you think about Obama’s win?

DC: I think it’s an amazing an historic victory, and an incredible opportunity to move the country and the world in another direction which has been sorely needed for the past eight years.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman was wondering what you’re doing as far as your African initiatives to end genocide, given Obama’s presidency? Have you asked for help from the new administration in terms of funding that project?

DC: They’ve already spoken about their commitment to Darfur and to the region. So hopefully, we’ll have a little more traction than we had with the Bush administration which just gave a lot of lip service, although Bush actually can toot his own horn about AIDS and Africa.

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

DC: No, I don’t have any burning desire to be asked something that I haven’t been asked before.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

DC: Yeah.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

DC: Putting Out of Your Mind by Dr. Bob Rotella. It was a golf book.

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: Where in L.A. do you live?

DC: I live in Santa Monica.

KW: Rudy Lewis asks: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

DC: My dad, Donald.

KW: Music maven Heather Covington’s question: What’s are you listening to nowadays? 

DC: I listen to everything. I have a very eclectic taste. Hip-hop… Slum Village… a lot of jazz… and salsa. 

KW: Thanks again for the time, Don, and best of luck with the new film, with your production company and with the fight against genocide in Africa.

DC: Thank you. Take care.

 

To see a trailer for Hotel for Dogs, visit:

 

 

 

www.disilgold.com World Exclusive: Nauturi Naughton Interview (Lil Kim in Movie Notorious and Former Singer in 3LW) Interview: Nauturi Au Naturel


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 Naturi Naughton

 The Notorious Interview

  with Kam Williams

 

 

            Naturi Cora Maria Naughton was born on May 20, 1984 in East Orange, New Jersey where she started singing in the choir at New Hope Baptist Church at just 5 years of age. She turned pro by 14, when she became a member of the girl band 3LW. The group soon signed with Sony/Epic Records and went on a nationwide tour while their debut album, entitled “3LW,” went platinum, selling 1.3 million copies.

            Away from the entertainment business, Naturi always remained an honor student, attending Seton Hall University where she majored in Political Science until her career became too demanding. Just before her junior year, she joined the Broadway production of Hairspray as Little Inez. As gifted as gorgeous newcomer may be, she remains humble and grateful to God for her blessings, and praises her parents for supporting her dreams and for raising her with so much love, encouragement, and faith.

            Here, Naturi talks about her performance as Lil’ Kim in the much-anticipated motion picture, Notorious, a bio-pic about the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace). In addition, she recently landed a lead role in the re-make of the screen version of Fame, the 1980 musical revolving around students at the New York Academy of Performing Arts. 

 

 

KW: Hi Naturi, thanks for the time.

NN: No problem, thank you.

KW: What interested you in Notorious?

NN: Well first off, just the fact that it was a biopic about Biggie Smalls. I was a fan of Biggie growing up and I felt it was about time that someone told his life story.

KW: What song of his is your favorite?

NN: Juicy! That’s my song.

KW: What did you think of the East Coast-West Coast turf war? Whose side were you on? 

NN: I think it was senseless and I am so glad that we have risen above that East Coast- West coast rivalry. I’m from the East but I never felt like I had to choose a side…Both coasts have made great music.

KW: Who do you think killed Biggie?

NN: I have no idea and that’s why his death still hurts so many people to this day. His murder is unsolved.

KW: How would you assess Jamal Woolard’s work in the title role?

NN: Jamal killed it! He captured Biggie so well, it was scary at times. He was made for this role and I had a great time working with him.

KW: How was it to make your screen debut with such a talented cast which also included Angela Bassett, Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie?

NN: Wow! I still can’t believe it. I feel so honored. These actors are people that I looked up to and admired, and here I am, making my debut in a movie with them. It’s really a dream come true!

KW: How did you prepare to play Lil Kim?

NN: I studied her…HARD! I watched her in videos, stage performances, behind the scenes footage, and listened to her voice in radio interviews. I also read a lot of material that the director [George Tillman Jr.] gave me about Kim’s back story. It helped to understand her struggles as a child growing up in Brooklyn. I even went to Brooklyn and spent time in her neighborhood. Talking to the guys from Junior Mafia, especially Lil Cease, helped me out a lot too.

KW: Has Kim seen the film? What does she think of your portrayal of her?

NN: I don’t know if she has seen the film, but hopefully when she does see it she will be proud of my portrayal.

KW: Is it true that you’re planning to do a duet with her on your debut album? How would describe your sound?

NN:  I don’t actually have an album coming out any time soon. A lot of people are referring to my song “Real Chicks” which was a song I wrote and recorded way before I even knew about Notorious. It’s crazy because, back then, I was working with producers from “Full Force” and we thought it’d be hot to get Lil Kim to do a verse on the song. So they made it happen. We never actually did that song in the studio together, though—the song was done and then we put Lil Kim on it. But this all happened over a year before my first audition for “Notorious”. Little did I know that I would soon be playing her in a movie. I am still looking forward to doing solo music. I am just waiting on the right situation and the right team to put it all together. I don’t just want a deal…I want a GOOD deal, so sometimes you have to be patient for that to come around. But when I make my album, it will be R&B with sprinkles of Hip Hop.

KW: You got your start in showbiz in music as a member of 3LW. How hard was the transition from singing to acting?

NN: I must admit, it is challenging and requires a lot of hard work. Growing up, though, I always knew I would be a singer and an actress. I just felt it! To me, singing and acting have always gone hand and hand. Even though my career started off as a singer, there is still a level of acting you have to bring to be an artist. Singers have a lot in common with actors because you have to dig deep into a song and show the audience what you are feeling as you sing. You have to be expressive and vulnerable as a singer which is some of the things you have to do to be a good actor. I’m still learning what it takes to be a great actress, but I don’t feel like I am in completely foreign territory.

KW: Which do you prefer at this point?

NN: I want it all! I love to sing…it’s in my heart and it’s a major part of who I am. But I also love to act…its organic. Growing up all my friends used to say “Naturi, you are soooooo dramatic!”.and I would think to myself, “Thank you!” [LOL]

 

KW: You’ve been on Broadway playing Little Inez in Hairspray for a couple of years. Are you going to have to leave the show in order to be able star in the remake of Fame?

NN: I have been on Broadway for two and one-half years. First off, I am so blessed to have maintained a Broadway gig that long. I loved my experience in Hairspray and I credit a lot of my acting success to that experience. I learned so much. But all good things must come to an end. I left the show on October 12th to take the role of Denise” in MGM’s Fame. I had a great run and I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life. I have recently started shooting for Fame and it’s been a blast. I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing project.

KW: How do you feel about Barack Obama’s becoming President of the United States?

NN: I feel so inspired because he achieved something that so many people said was unattainable. I feel triumphant! I voted for Obama and as a young person, it feels good to be a part of history. I believe in change and so many other things that he represents.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

NN:  Extremely happy, thank God! Both personally and professionally.

KW. The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live when you’re out there?

NN: I just keep it simple. I have a nice apartment right outside of L.A. I’m enjoying my experience out in LA. I am mad they don’t have a “Roscoes” back home in Jersey! [LOL]

KW: You’re originally from East Orange, New Jersey. Do you still have family there or live there yourself?

NN: I was born and raised there and most of my family still lives there.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

NN: Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

NN: A lot of times…this is a scary business.

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you that you wish someone would?

NN: Umm, I don’t think so.

KW: Music maven Heather Covington’s question: What music are you listening to nowadays? 

NN: I love Beyonce’s new album, I Am… Sasha Fierce. The song Halo is great!

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

NN: My advice is to be prepared for rejection, but never let people tell you that you can’t do something. If you think Big…you can achieve BIG!     

KW: Rudy Lewis asks: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

NN: Barack Obama!

KW: Do you have a website where fans go to hear a sample of your singing?

NN: Actually, yes. Go check out my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/naturinaughton. The song with Lil Kim, “Real Chicks” is on there and a few others.

KW: Do you answer your fan mail?

NN: Yes, I do, on my MySpace. If it wasn’t for the fans, I would not still be here. They’re dedicated to me and I am dedicated to them.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

NN: Professionally, I want to be remembered for how hard I worked and how I put my heart and soul into my work. Personally: I want people to remember my heart. I hope they say, “She really loved people!”

KW: Thanks again for the interview, and best of luck with all your endeavors. 

NN: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

 

www.disilgold.com Exclusive: The Meagan Good Interview: On Her Way from Good to Goodness


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Meagan Good

The Unborn Interview

 with Kam Williams

 

 

Born in Panorama City, California to Tyra Doyle and Leon Good on August 18, 1981, Meagan Monique Good was raised along with her three siblings mostly by her mom. The precocious tot got her early start in showbiz at the age of four with the help of her mother who served as her agent.

After appearing in countless TV commercials, the photogenic cutie pie started landing bit roles on TV series like Gabriel’s Fire and On Our Own until she made her screen debut in Friday in 1995. A couple of years later, her big break arrived when she got to play Cisely Baptiste in Eve’s Bayou with Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett and Debbi Morgan.

Since then, her familiar face has become a staple of television on such shows as Cousin Skeeter, Touched by an Angel, My Wife and Kids and Moesha, to name a few. Meanwhile, in film, she made Roll Bounce and Waist Deep before enjoying a starring role as a romantic lead opposite her childhood friend, Columbus Short, in Stomp the Yard.

In 2008 alone, the versatile thespian appeared in the horror flick, One Missed Call; the Mike Myers comedy, The Love Guru; and the slasher flick, Saw V. And this year promises to keep Meagan just as busy, since she’s slated for three more releases, Sundays in Fort Greene, Sweet Flame and The Unborn, which is already in theaters.   

Here, the striking actress shares her thoughts about everything from the election of Barack Obama to how she has successfully avoided the pitfalls of early fame which so many former child stars seem to fall prey to.   

 

KW: Thanks so much for the time, Meagan.

MG: Thank you.

KW: Since you’ve been friends with Columbus Short for years, I think I ought to start by asking you the Columbus Short question which is: Are you happy?    

MG: I’m very happy! It’s an important question which I don’t think people ask enough in the midst of the glitz and the glamour and all the other things that go on.

KW: How did you and Columbus meet?

MG: We’ve known each other since we were 10. He lived right across the street from my baby cousin’s. So, we used to play together, and we also went to school together around that age. We actually hadn’t seen each other for several years when we ran into each other when we were like 18 or 19. We became friends again then and we’ve stayed close ever since, and we got to make Stomp the Yard together.

KW: What interested you in making The Unborn?

MG: First of all, when I was a kid, what really got me wanting to act was Halloween 4 and 5. I wanted to be the little girl in those movies so badly. Ever since then, I always wanted to make a scary movie that’s really like a classic thriller. I don’t think we’ve had a great one since Scream 1. So, to me, it seemed like a great opportunity to do everything that I had wanted to do as a little girl.      

KW: But this wasn’t your first horror flick, was it?

MG: No, I also did Venom, One Missed Call and Saw V.

KW: What did you think of the storyline of The Unborn?

MG: I believe in ghosts and spirits, and I believe that they can possess you.

KW: What I found a little strange was the idea of a rabbi performing an exorcism.

MG: Spiritually, if something like that needed to be performed, I don’t think it would matter if you weren’t Catholic. I think it’s about believing in God and that you can be saved and healed. 

KW: Because of the demonic subject-matter and the physical intensity, this looks like it could have been a very emotionally-challenging film to make.

MG: Oh, yeah! Because of the content, I had to do a lot of praying even before I accepted the role. Then, once I got on set, I prayed every single morning before we started shooting. And I’d pray again in the afternoons.

KW: Why so much?

MG: Even though it’s just a movie, you really are opening yourself up to a lot of things spiritually. People still talk about how the little girl in Poltergeist [Heather O’Rourke] passed away at the age of 12 of some mysterious disease and the actress who played the eldest daughter [Dominique Dunne] in the same movie was murdered a few months after the film opened. So, it was intense for me and I pretty much prayed for everyone on set. You definitely have to take it seriously, spiritually.  

KW: I first recall seeing you in a very spiritual film, Eve’s Bayou, a masterpiece directed by Casey Lemmons.

MG: Oh, thank you.

KW: What are you memories of making that movie?

MG: I remember being very nervous, because it was my first leading role as a child. More so than anything I was nervous about having to kiss Samuel L. Jackson, since I was only 14. I also remember being excited and enjoying myself, even in that situation. Although I was young, I prayed while in Louisiana, too, because as you know there’s a lot of voodoo down there and you always need to be covered and protected and aware. Even if it’s just a film, it’s still real life while you’re there shooting it.  

KW: What TV commercials did you do when you were a kid?

MG: Everything from Barbie to AT&T to Pringles to Burger King to Cheerios to J.C. Penney’s to Macys. Everything you could think of commercial-wise, I’ve probably done. 

KW: What were some of the first sitcoms you appeared on?

MG: Doogie Howser and Amen, and from that I graduated to speaking lines.

KW: Is your dad still a police officer?  

MG: Yes, I think he’s retiring this year, but he’s still with the LAPD.

KW: And is your mom still your manager?

MG: No, she stopped managing me when I was a teenager, but she still helps me out a lot. But I try not to have her work for me anymore, because she raised us on her own and pretty much gave up everything so my sister [actress/singer La’Myia Good] and I could have our careers. On top of that, my 36 year-old brother has disabilities, and she’s been caring for him since she was very young. So, I try to make it as easy for her as possible.

KW: What type of disabilities does he have?

MG: I don’t know exactly how it would be classified, but he has some brain damage. He stopped breathing when he was 8, and some medication they gave him left him with a learning disability.

KW: I’m sorry to hear that. I suppose he helped keep you grounded.

MG: Yeah.

KW: What else helped you avoid the pitfalls of early fame which so many former child stars seem to fall prey to?

MG: For one thing, my mom wasn’t a stage-mom. She isn’t very aggressive, and she never tried to force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. She’s just a very laidback person who was very protective of her kids. And she had no interest in taking our money, controlling the situation, or living vicariously through us. She’s really been a great mom who I’ve always had a lot of respect for even as teenagers because she always respected us and treated us like young adults. Some people got on her for being too permissive, but we never rebelled. We never got into drugs and we were the last ones to lose our virginity. We never ran around with the bad boys or hid anything from our parents.       

KW: That’s admirable. The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

MG: Oh, I love Tasha. She’s an amazing person. Am I ever afraid? Yes, you have times when you work so hard and put so much into it, and things feel… I don’t want to go so far as to say hopeless… but you’re trying hard not to lose your faith. Moments like that are where I get afraid and I really need to pray and put everything back into perspective. I have to realize it’s not me, it’s God, and I just have to be confident in my ability and focus on the positive regardless of people who say negative things and don’t want me to succeed, or who won’t give me an opportunity. Those are the times when I get a little afraid, because your faith may waver a little bit. But I think now that I’m a little bit older, my mindset is that being afraid is a waste of energy because there are some things that are out of you control that you may just have to accept. So, I put all my energy into making the things I can control go the way I know in my heart they should. My attitude is to keep fighting and try not to be afraid.      

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson was wondering: What was the last book you read?

MG: The Bible.

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan asks: Where in L.A. do you live?

MG: In Studio City.

KW: Rudy Lewis asks: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

MG: First, Jesus; then, my mom; then Barack.

KW: How do you feel about Obama’s becoming president?

MG: I’m ecstatic! It’s amazing! Gosh, I don’t even know what to say. I’m just happy that Bush is over, and that the way things have been is over. Now the troops can come home and that we can work towards putting ourselves back together. I’m glad for what it represents, and I hope that people don’t make it into a racial thing, because it’s really not about that. It’s about creating unity, and if we needed to use a different colored face to achieve that, so be it. But let’s not make it a racial thing, but a people thing, because we come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and shades. Let’s unify and be happy!   

KW: Speaking of shapes, sizes and shades, you have a very exotic look. What’s your background?

MG: My mother’s mother is Jewish and African, so I guess that would be considered Creole. My mother’s father was Cherokee Indian and something else. My dad’s mother’s Puerto Rican and black, and his father was from Barbados.  

KW: My father was from Barbados?

MG: Oh really?

KW: Yep. While you are obviously very mature and intelligent, I’m still curious about why you didn’t you go to college?

MG: I always knew I wanted to be an actress, and I had the attitude that I would learn more under people like Samuel L. Jackson, Laurence Fishburne or Mike Myers than from someone who had never starred in a movie. I just didn’t think that someone who had never been in a movie could teach me how to act in one.

KW: Do you at all regret not going to college?

MG: I do wish that I had gone to college, just for the simple fact that knowing more than one approach makes you more well-rounded. But I still can’t say knowing what I know now, that I would have done it any differently.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What’s music are you listening to nowadays? 

MG: I’m a late Eighties, early Nineties baby. I will always be listening to Journey, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Aerosmith and Guns & Roses. I love R&B without a doubt, but I’m a Rock & Roll girl. And I like a little bit of Pop. You can’t forget about Prince and Madonna.   

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

MG: Yeah, what would you like to leave behind?

KW: What would you like to leave behind?

MG: Something that’s more than a memory. I’d like to be a part of the new movement, some of which is in film. I’d like to see more different colored faces playing leads in movies and doing art house films. I’d like to be remembered as someone who was on the front line of a movement changing the world and people and how they were perceived. And as someone who used whatever God put her in to offer a positive outlook and to make a positive influence and to change some of the things that are in boxes they shouldn’t be in.    

KW: Well, Meagan, I’ve been very impressed with your work thus far and expect even bigger things from you in the future.

MG: Thank you, I’m looking to follow in Julia Roberts’ and Meryl Streep’s footsteps.

KW: Thanks again for the interview, and best of luck .

MG: Thank you and God bless you! 

 

To see a trailer for The Unborn, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75R2A2ET__4

 

To see Meagan Good in the 50 Cent music video “21 Questions,” visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPycbYWRqEM

www.disilgold.com-Will Barack Obama Win Last Remaining 4 Undecided States?


According to recent exit polls if Senator McCain does not win last 4 key states, Barack Obama could win the candidacy for presidency of the United States. As we are reporting this, Barack Obama just won Ohio.   And it’s official, he just won New York and Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He  currently has 194 electoral votes. It’s getting closer as I am typing this announcement.  Barack Obama’s votes are over the top. With Virginia, Florida and New Mexico remaining it’s not over yet. There are still big battle ground states left. 270 Electoral votes are needed and even if America is lit up red on the news, It’s all about the electoral votes. If Barack Obama wins, he will appear in Chicago in front of over 1 milllion people with anticipated victory just building and building. Many African-American  leaders like Andrew Young are currently present and filled with tears. History is being made for what was the longest presidential campaign race ever!  It’s a good thing for all people. Hear my live commentary on www.disilgold.com after poll finals. Remember, we don’t know yet if Barack Obama is clearly the winner. Brace yourself! Anything can happen, but folks are already saying if barack Obama wins, they are going to celebrate by being a being a better person. Oh my, New Mexico is BarakaBAMA land. Okay, got to go. Soooo excited. God bless all! Running to see the big win!

www.disilgold.com- Interview with Actress Sanaa Lathan


Sanaa Lathan

The Family That Preys Interview

with Kam Williams

 

 

Born in New York City on September 19, 1971, Sanaa McCoy Lathan is a Tony-nominated actress (for A Raisin in the Sun) who has been the recipient of accolades not only for her work on Broadway, but for her equally-powerful performances in movies and on television as well. She might be best known for the romantic comedy Something New, for which she landed an NAACP Image Award nomination last year. But the 5’7” beauty’s screen credits also include memorable roles in Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, The Best Man, Life and Alien vs. Predator.

Sanaa received another Image Award nomination for the critically-acclaimed FX Network series Nip/Tuck. This past February, she reprised her role as Beneatha Younger opposite Sean Diddy Combs for the ABC-TV adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun. Here, she talks about her new movie, The Family That Preys, a dysfunctional family drama co-starring Taraji P. Henson, Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, Robin Givens and the film’s director, Tyler Perry.

 

KW: Hey, Sanaa, thanks for another interview.
SL: Oh, it’s my pleasure.

KW: As the daughter of a director/producer [Stan Lathan], did you find yourself comparing Tyler Perry to your father?
SL: Oh no, no. I’ve never really worked with my dad as an actress.

KW: How did you like working with Tyler?
SL: Tyler’s great. I love how he’s constantly working on a scene, adding lines. You never know what the scene’s going to turn out to be because he does it so many ways. He encourages improv and does lots of takes, so it was great. He’s such a professional, and he has an amazing situation down in Atlanta with the studio and with the crew. Everyone is so professional, and they have a shorthand for working, because they’ve been doing it together for a long time. And I really liked Atlanta. 

KW: Was that your first time shooting a film there?
SL: It was! I really kind of fell in love with the city. And this cast, we really hit it off, so I’m actually friends with a lot of them now. I had a blast.

KW: How did you like playing Andrea?
SL: I enjoyed it because the role is such a departure from everything I’ve done. She’s kind of like the villain.  Another thing I love about this movie is that it’s not about race. It happens to be about a white family and a black family, but it could just as easily be any family. We’re not dealing with the race issue. We’re just dealing with family relationships, friend relationships, marital relationships and infidelity.

KW: I hope there’s a trend towards this sort of colorblind casting.
SL: Exactly! It’s about time. People have to open their minds.

KW: This picture pairs you with Taraji Henson again. 
SL: Yeah, but we only had a couple scenes together in Something New, and there were always about three other people in each scene as well. This was fun, because we really got to play and got a chance to get to know each other very well.

KW: How was it reuniting with Diddy to do a made-for-TV movie version of A Raisin in the Sun?
SL: We had a good time. And it was nice to be able to do the movie after doing so many shows on Broadway. And having it so well received was just kind of awesome. Back when we were doing it on stage, I would never have guessed that we’d get to turn it into a movie.  

KW: Is there any question that no one ever asks you that you wish someone would?
SL: No, I think people cover everything.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
SL: I’m super-happy! Of course I have my days, but overall, I feel very blessed, like I’m in a good place in life. I want to continue growing as a person and as an actress, and at the same time I feel very good about where I am. So, yes, I’m happy.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
SL: Of course, absolutely. Just being a free-lance artist, where you go from job to job, there are times in between where you don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills. Even at my level, you don’t know what’s coming next sometimes, and you just have to have faith.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?
SL: I’m such a bookworm, too. I just finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. And now I’m starting another novel called The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

KW: Have you ever been disappointed?
SL: [Sarcastically] No. [Laughs] Yeah, I get disappointed, because whenever you’re an ambitious person, you have to dream big and then let God take care of it. The truth is, you’re not the one in control. You gotta let it go. So, of course there are disappointments. But you have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep it moving.  

KW: The Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to right now?
SL: There’s an artist out of England called Adele. Also, I really love Jazmine Sullivan’s single, “Need You Bad.”

KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live, generally speaking?
SL: In Hollywood.

KW: How do you want to be remembered? 
SL: How do I want to be remembered? I don’t know. That question’s too deep for me right now. I’ve been up since 4 A.M. and I don’t want to give you an answer that I’m going to regret. 

KW: Gee, I’m sorry for putting a strain on you.
SL: No, I’m sorry I couldn’t answer all your questions. It’s just that my brain is a little tired.

KW: No need to apologize. You’ve been great.

SL: Thank you, and good luck with everything.

 

To see a trailer for The Family That Preys, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXt-FzVksfM  

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www.disilgold.com- Remember Taraji P. Henson’s stellar role in The Family That Preys? Well, now read the interview!


 Taraji P. Henson      

The Family That Preys Interview

with Kam Williams

www.disilgold.com

 

Headline: Taraji Shares All, Even the Surprising Color of Her Panties

 

            Taraji Penda Henson was born on September 11, 1970 in Washington, DC, where she would one day graduate from Howard University with a degree in Theater Arts. She made her screen debut in Streetwise in 1998, but got her big break a few years later co-starring in Baby Boy opposite Tyrese. Taraji followed that film with critically-acclaimed work in Hustle & Flow and Talk to Me, pictures for which she landed a couple of NAACP Image Award nominations.

            She not only turned in a memorable performance as a pregnant prostitute in Hustle & Flow, but made her singing debut on its soundtrack in “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” the tune which landed the Oscar as the Best Song of the year.  Ms. Henson has also appeared in Smokin’ Aces, Something New, Four Brothers, Animal and Hair Show, and has upcoming outing on the horizon opposite Forest Whitaker in Hurricane Season, Brad Pitt in The Curious case of Benjamin Button, and Morris Chestnut in Not Easily Broken.

The stunning single-mom was voted to Black Men’s Magazine’s 10 Sexiest Women list in 2001. Here, she talks about her latest picture, The Family That Preys, where she plays Tyler Perry’s wife, Pam.

 

KW: Hi Taraji. It’s been a while since we last spoke, back when you were doing Baby Boy. I remember how seriously you were balancing acting with your responsibilities raising your young son as a single-mom.

TH: Oh my God! A lot has happened since then.

KW: Marcel must almost be a teenager by now.

TH: He’s 14. Can you believe it?

KW: Wow! Time flies. How is he doing?

TH: He’s doing great. I’m a mom first, so I’m making sure he’s getting all the nurturing he needs. He’s a freshman at one of L.A.’s top private schools. After he finishes this program, he’ll be able to go to any school in the country. 

KW: That’s excellent. Congratulations! So, what interested you in playing Pam in The Family That Preys?

TH: I play a lot of edgy characters, and it was refreshing to not have to work so hard. She’s actually kind of funny. That’s what drew me to her, and that she was a regular girl. 

KW: So you weren’t a pregnant prostitute, a lesbian sniper like you were in Smokin’ Aces, or any of the other over-the-top characters you’re known for like Vernell in Talk to Me. 

TH: No. It was great to have a chance to play a regular woman who was actually quite funny. I want to be funny. I’m sick of crying.

KW: How was it playing Tyler Perry’s his wife?

TH: Incredible! That man is something to be reckoned with, a force of nature. It was interesting because I had never worked opposite a director who was also acting in the film. My scenes with him were weird because he was my husband. He’d clear the set, and I’d forget and still be standing there waiting for the director to show up. I’d be like, “Oh my God! You’re the director. Sorry!” So, that was different. But just watching how this man works was like nothing I’ve ever seen in life.   

KW: And how was it working again with Sanaa Lathan?

TH: I didn’t really get to work much with her in Something New. This time we really had a chance to get down together and it was wonderful. That was what I was really looking forward to. She and I are both Virgos, so we’re so much alike, and yet so different. It’s a beautiful combination. I often tell her that if you could combine the both of us together, you’d have the perfect human.

KW: And you both have Swahili names.

TH: My first name means “Hope” and my middle name means “Love.” 

KW: Hers means “Work of Art.” Is it true you’re related to the Arctic explorer Matthew Henson?

TH: Yes, he’s my great-great cousin. He was the brother of my great-great grandfather. Matthew would send him letters about his travels while out on his expeditions. Somebody in the family had all this great correspondence until one day when their apartment was robbed and the letters were lost, probably thrown away like trash.   

KW: What a tragedy. Do you think you get any of your adventurous spirit from your famous ancestor? 

TH: Absolutely! I think I get my survival skills from him, and also my belief that nothing is out of my reach, that I can achieve anything, if I apply myself. I never quit. I think that’s something I was born with from his genes.

KW: Did you get an Oscar when “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won Best Song?

TH: No, because it went to the songwriters. But Craig Brewer, the scriptwriter and director of Hustle & Flow called me and told me that he wanted me to take it as my quiet victory, because the song was clearly nominated because of the context and how it threaded into a pivotal moment in the movie. So, I feel like I had a lot to do with the song’s success.    

KW: Plus, you performed it onstage on Oscar night. The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

TH: Absolutely!

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

TH: No, I’m never scared.

KW: What’s been your biggest disappointment?

TH: My biggest disappointment? I haven’t run into it yet?

KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live?

TH: Glendale.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

TH: Dear Lover: A Woman’s Guide to Men, Sex, and Love’s Deepest Bliss by David Deida.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to right now?

TH: I’m a huge jazz fan, because everything stems from jazz, in my opinion. I have over 6,000 songs on my iPod, but that’s not even my entire collection. I started collecting music in college. I would have to say that John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” is my favorite of all time. That and “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis.

But I just love it all, hip-hop, too, because I was around when it was born. I buy music every week. Depending on my mood, it may be old funk, classic soul, R&B, Nine Inch Nails or punk rock. I’m very versatile when it comes to music.  

KW: Is there any question nobody ever asks you that you that you wish somebody would?

TH: What color underwear am I wearing. [Laughs] No.

KW: Okay, what color underwear are you wearing?

TH: I’m not wearing any. [Laughs] You know what, no, I don’t know. I can’t really think of a question.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

TH: As one of the greats.

KW: Thanks so much for the time, Taraji, and best of luck with everything.

TH: Thank you. Take care.

 

To see a trailer for The Family That Preys, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXt-FzVksfM   

 Copyright 2008. Disilgold. See full interview at www.disilgold.com

www.disilgold.com- Omar Benson Interview- The Gentle Giant from Miracle of St. Anna


Omar Benson Miller

 The Express & Miracle at St. Anna Interview

with Kam Williams

www.disilgold.com

 

Headline: It’s Miller Time!

 

            Born on October 7, 1978, Los Angeles native Omar Benson Miller started acting professionally while attending San Jose State University, where he majored in Radio, Television Film and Theater Arts with a minor in African-American Studies. The 6’ 6” gentle giant made his screen debut in the Walt Disney drag comedy Sorority Boys.

            Upon completing work on his bachelor’s degree, he landed a lead role in Eminem’s semi-autobiographical bio-pic 8 Mile. He has since appeared in over a dozen movies, most notably opposite 50-Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Halle Berry and in Things We Lost in the Fire, Richard Gere and J-Lo in Shall We Dance, and Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall in Lucky You. 

He’s even tried his hand at writing, directing and producing, making Gordon Glass, a low-budget family comedy in which he handled the title role.   On television, Omar has been on such shows as The West Wing, Law & Order and Sex Love & Secrets.

Here, the versatile young talent talks about his two pictures currently in theaters, The Express & Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna.

 

KW: Hey Omar, thanks for the time.

OM: Yeah. No doubt! How’re you doing?

KW: Fine, and you?

OM: I’m good.

KW: What interested you in playing Sam Train in Miracle at St. Anna?

OM: What didn’t interest me in playing Sam Train? He’s like a superhero, except in real life. I had read the book when it initially came out, and I felt, “Wow! This is exactly something I’d like to do.” And then the opportunity came up while we were shooting The Express. I got this text message saying Spike Lee was doing a World War II drama and, yeah man, I did everything I could to get in front of that guy. And he picked me. He said, “I want you to do it.” Then he put me on this tight regimen where I had to lose about 50 pounds in 9 weeks.      

KW: Whoa!

OM: If you see both movies, you’ll see I’m a blubberous lineman in The Express, and a much less blubbery soldier in Miracle at St. Anna. What’s interesting is that both these films tell stories that needed to be told, in my opinion, because you never learn anything in school or during Black History month about the Buffalo Soldiers or the African-American military campaign during World War II.

KW: I agree. And what attracted you to the role of Rob Brown’s buddy Jack in The Express?

OM: When I read that book, I was embarrassed that I had never heard of Ernie Davis, although I knew about Jim Brown, Floyd Little and the Syracuse University legacy. And the more research that I did, watching film and reading about him, the more intrigued I became. I realized he was a humanitarian and an American hero whose story deserved to be told. And I think it’s going to inspire millions, because people are going to see this film and love it. I’ve seen it with audiences four or five times and not once has it gotten a bad response. People love this movie.

KW: Did you have an interest in acting as a child?

OM: No, none whatsoever. I played sports. The acting thing was just a direct blessing from the Lord, because I lost my discipline to play sports, and I had this really cool professor grab me and kind of take me under his wing, and the ball just started rolling. Another professor introduced me to my first agent, and the next thing you know, I got to start doing films. It was great!

KW: What would you say was your big break, 8 Mile?

OM: Without question. After 8 Mile came out and blew up, the ball has been rolling ever since.

KW: At 6’ 6” tall, what types of roles are you looking for?

OM: The type that aren’t specifically written for guys who are 6’ 6”. Normally, I try to stay away from playing security guard type characters, the stereotypical, big man fare. And I’ve been pretty blessed, man, and successful at getting out of the box.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson wants to know, what was the last book you read?

OM: The most memorable book I read recently was Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. It was a departure for her from her normal evil vampire type fare. This book delved into the possibilities of what it might have been like to watch Jesus as a child. It was very interesting.

KW: What did you think of the job James McBride did in adapting Miracle at St. Anna, having read the book?

OM: Spike’s vision for the film definitely burst out of the beauty of the book. But I think it’s a different animal. It’s tricky, because it’s very difficult to jam a novel like that into two and a half hours.

KW: Do you think it helped in this case that the author also wrote the screenplay.

OM: Without question. From what I understand, he and Spike would go through it together ten pages at a time.

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan asks: Where in L.A. do you live?

OM: I live in Glendale now. It’s actually a really nice community. I hadn’t been hip to it. I just stumbled upon it by accident because a buddy of mine needed me to pick him up out there. And I was like, “Gee, this is nice.” Around the same time, I was blessed enough to be able to buy a house, so I moved over there.

KW: Where in L.A. did you grow up? 

OM: Before I left to go to college, I was living in Orange County, Anaheim Hills. And prior to that I was in Long Beach. That’s where I spent most of my childhood and where my mother and brothers are now.

KW: Music maven Heather Covington is curious about what music you’re listening to nowadays? 

OM: I’m listening to the new Beck, Modern Guilt, and to a buddy of mine named Johnny Fair who sings soul, R&B. And I’ve been listening to that Citizen Cope album. I can’t wait for his new one to come out. He’s more of an independent, undergroundy kind of guy.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

OM: Of course.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

OM: I’m joyous! And that’s more important, because happiness is fleeting.

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

OM: [Laughs] No, you guys are pretty thorough.

KW: What message do you hope people will take away from The Express?

OM: I hope they come away with the inspiration that you can overcome any obstacles in your path. Ernie Davis had the cards stacked against him completely, yet he was able to accomplish great things through perseverance, courage, diligence and his own grounding though his family and his faith. I sincerely hope the film challenges people to take an introspective look at their lives and see how they fit into the world at large, and see what kinds of positive changes they can make, because in researching for this film we didn’t find one person who had met Ernie who hadn’t been positively influenced by him. Not one. And I think this comes out on the screen. So, even in death, he was still triumphant. That’s admirable. 

KW: How do you want to be remembered.

OM: As a righteous dude!

KW: Thanks again for the interview, Omar. I appreciate the time and I’m expecting bigger things from you in the future.

OM: Hey, I appreciate that.

 

To see a trailer for The Express, visit: http://www.theexpressmovie.com/site.html#/videos/1/1/

 

To see a trailer for Miracle at St. Anna, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXMVLN5rqpA

 

Copyright 2008. Disilgold. Visit www.disilgold.com for full interview.

www.disilgold.com The Rev. Al Sharpton Interview


Reverend Al Sharpton

            The Murder in Black and White Interview

with Kam Williams

www.disilgold.com

            Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr. was born in Brooklyn, NY on October 3, 1954 to Ada and Alfred, Sr., a descendant of slaves owned by the ancestors of segregationist U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. Called to the ministry at an early age, young Al started preaching at the age of 4, was ordained at 9, and went on tour as a child with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

             In 1971, he took a job as James Brown’s tour manager, forging an enduring friendship with the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.” Rev Al took that work ethic with him when he decided to dedicate his life to civil rights activism. A tireless advocate of the poor and underprivileged, he founded the Harlem-based National Action Network, an organization aimed at alleviating social injustice.

            Al’s most recent cause, lobbying the Supreme Court on behalf of the Death Row inmate Troy Davis, resulted in an 11th hour stay of execution. Here, he reflects not only on that triumph, but on everything from his voter registration drive to Barack Obama to the Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell cases. Plus, he talks about his new television show, Murder in Black and White, directed by documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, which is set to premiere on Sunday October 5th, with episodes airing on four consecutive evenings at 10 PM EST on TV One Network. (Check local listings)

 

KW: Hey, Reverend Sharpton, thanks for the time. I’m honored to be speaking with you.

AS: No problem.

KW: Congratulations on the Troy Davis stay of execution.

AS: Thank you.

KW: What will you be working on next?

AS: Well, the National Action Network is working on several things. Following up on the Troy Davis case… I’ve also been doing a national bus tour doing voter registration and voter protection rallies. We did Kansas City, Missouri, three cities in North Carolina, and Philadelphia, a city a day last week. This coming week, I’m doing Charlotte, Cleveland and Prince George County in Maryland. So, we’re all over the country.  

KW: You were on the fence about the election for awhile. Have you come out in support of a presidential candidate yet?

AS: Yeah, I’m supporting Senator Obama, but the National Action Network tour is non-partisan. You can’t do voter registration and be partisan. But I’ve personally endorsed Barack Obama,  

KW: What did you think of the first presidential debate?

AS: I thought it went well. I thought Senator Obama held his own. 

KW: Let’s talk about your new TV show. What interested you in hosting Murder in Black and White?

AS: A lot of people know the story of Emmett Till. A lot of people know about Medgar Evers. But many don’t understand that there were many other lynchings. These were the prices that were paid for folks like me, and Obama, and [New York State Governor] David Patterson, and [Massachusetts Governor] Deval Patrick to do what we do. I think that by bringing these cases to light, it gives people an understanding of the culture of racial violence, as well as the fact that some of these cases are still unsolved. So, it’s a matter of teaching history in a dramatic way, because this is not the kind of documentary series that puts you to sleep. It’s been done very well. It’s not only riveting but it reminds you that we’re just a generation or two away from lynchings, and that some of the perpetrators are still alive and at large. 

KW: I was born in 1952 and raised in the North, but my parents subscribed to black papers like the Pittsburgh Courier which covered all the lynchings and mysterious disappearances in the South ignored by the mainstream press. So, I grew up with a sense that there was a different energy and danger for black folks in the South. 

AS: Exactly right. And I was born in ’54 and raised in the North, but I would hear horror stories from my mother. I know what it did for me, a generation removed, to now see it in these episodes. I hope it touches the generation behind me and others, so they can understand the gravity of what the Civil Rights Movement and challenging Jim Crow segregation was all about.  

KW: What do you think is the best way for the elders of the Civil Rights Movement to come together with members of the Hip-Hop Generation?

AS: I think in many ways, because of the major media, we’re not looking at this correctly. You have the elders of the Civil Rights Generation, the Joe Lowery to Jesse Jackson group. But then you have a group in between those generations, which includes Martin Luther King III, myself and others in their 40s and 50s. Barack is in this generation. Then you have the Hip-Hop Generation. See, I think the white media acts like we went straight from 1960 to 2008. That’s not true. Those in that middle generation that I’m in understand the elders because we were raised by them. And we understand some of the younger people because they’re our little sisters and brothers. The way we come together is on the civil rights and human rights issues. The other thing the media has done wrongly is confuse hip-hop activism, the term you used in the question, with hip-hop entertainers. The leaders of the Hip-Hop Generation in terms of activism are the students who worked with us on the Martin Lee Anderson case in Florida, the Jena Six case in Louisiana, or the Genarlow Wilson case in Georgia. They’re not the hip-hop artists doing shows and talking about how they want to be new leaders when they’re not involved in any activism, any more than The Temptations and The Supremes led the Selma march, or Luther Vandross led the Amadou Diallo march. I think the white media has very cynically tried to act like the leaders of the Hip-Hop Generation are the entertainers, and not credit the student leaders and others who have become activists and are acting with my generation and with the elders.        

KW: Do you feel the same way about civil disobedience as a tactic in cases where cops kill innocent black men after the police were found not guilty in both the Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell cases?

AS: First of all, in the case of Amadou Diallo, we did civil disobedience prior to the indictments. That’s how we got the indictments. There was no civil disobedience after the verdict. Yes, it was effective in that case, because we wouldn’t have even gotten any indictments without it. And we used the same tactic with the Abner Louima case, which we won. With Sean Bell, we used civil disobedience afterwards, but the jury is still out on whether the Feds will come in. But you gotta remember, from the Howard Beach case, where people went to jail, to Bensonhurst case, where people went to jail, to Abner Louima to Jena, where we got Mychal Bell out of jail, you have wins and losses. Dr. King lost in Albany, Georgia, but won in Selma. Yeah, we lost Diallo, but look at all the others that we won. Not only is the tactic effective, but these would not be issues had we not performed civil disobedience. Part of activism lies in bringing attention to the issues, so that legislators and others have to respond. For example, we used civil disobedience and marching to dramatize the New Jersey 4 case. Well, that put the first profiling law on the books. Had it not been for our activism, profiling would not be part of American jurisprudence. Out of that came racial profiling legislation, including what Barack did in Illinois. If you remove all the protests, tell me if they’d even be addressing the issue of police brutality and racial profiling. There have been plenty of people martyred, but unfortunately the only ones you can name are the ones there have been movements around. Dr. King in his day never passed legislation. He demonstrated civil disobedience that led Adam Clayton Powell and others in Congress to pass legislation, and Thurgood Marshall making new law in the courts. We are trying to do in our day what King did. I think some people are confused about the process.     

KW: What did you think about Jesse Jackson’s off-camera comments about Barack Obama’s Father’s Day speech? 

AS: I thought he was wrong and I was very public in my criticism. I went on CNN and Fox. I have a lot of respect for Reverend Jackson, but he was wrong, and I couldn’t justify his comments. I think that what Barack said about black men that day needed to be said. Barack was correct, Bill Cosby’s been correct. I didn’t agree that Barack was talking down to blacks. And you cannot use the N-word, when you’ve been protesting its use. You must be consistent. Reverend Jackson was dead wrong in this case, but that won’t be his legacy. 

KW: In 1991, someone tried to assassinate you because of your marching in Bensonhurst. Why did you ask for clemency of the racist who tried to kill you when if his knife had been an inch or so over, you would have died on the spot?

AS: My proposition was that this young man was troubled, and that this young man should be extended the same mercy that I ask for troubled people in my own community. Yeah, he almost killed me. It was the hardest thing in the world for me to ask for clemency for him, but I did it because I was trying to be consistent. It’s always interesting to me, that when people recount my story, especially the white media, they always bring up Tawana Brawley, do they will rarely bring up the fact that I forgave a white man for trying to kill me. And I not only went to court and asked the judge for clemency, but I visited him in jail. That doesn’t fit the mainstream media’s stereotypical picture of an angry black man who doesn’t like white folks.

KW: What’s it like to live your life in the public eye 24/7, and to have constant requests for help in terms of discrimination or oppression?

AS: It becomes burdensome at times, but it’s the life I’ve chosen. It’s what I felt I was called to do, and I do it. I don’t think I could do anything else. When I was younger, I was very close to James Brown, and I tried for a time to be involved with entertainment, but I couldn’t do it. People have to find their passion in life, and social activism is my passion. And I think in this era we need that kind of force which will continue to expose what’s wrong so that legislators will be challenged to change the laws. If you don’t have that, the laws won’t change on their own. Which is why people call us. Sean Bell’s 22 year-old wife to be, Nicole, called us because she felt that we would make the world know what happened. And we did, because that’s what we do. Absent somebody dramatizing a case and making it public, politicians are not going to deal with it.

KW: You mentioned James Brown. When I was a kid, I lived a couple of blocks from him in St. Albans. Did you know him when he had that house on Linden Boulevard?

AS: No, I was a kid then, too. I got to know him after he had already moved back to Augusta, Georgia. I got close to him when his son, Teddy, a student who had joined my national youth movement in New York, was killed in a car accident.  

KW: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

AS: Being able, in this generation, to build a consistent movement that has been effective at raising public awareness about the remaining inequities in society. No one can deny that we’ve been successful in making racial profiling, police misconduct, and now, education reform, national issues. And without us, it wouldn’t have been that effective. We’ve remained on the cutting edge of making the conversation deal with the issues of inequality that had been taken off the table. If the generation behind us loses a dedication to raising public awareness, you will end up going backwards in terms of racial progress.  

KW: What do you think sank the Diallo case?

AS: Once Johnnie Cochran was no longer on the case, it is my belief that the PBA, District Attorney Robert Johnson and others used that period of time as an opening to abuse the law, to come up with a scheme for the change of venue which I feel led to an injustice for the Diallo family and the community. I think that by the time the new attorneys got in place, D.A. Johnson, the PBA and one of the defendants’ attorneys, which was former Judge Burton Roberts, they had already made their deal, and I believe that that is what led to the injustice.” 

 

KW: How do you think an Obama presidency might change race relations in America?

AS: I think it could make things better, but again, and you know Senator Obama and I have a good relationship, there will still be those on the outside pushing the envelope. I think it’s unfair to have unrealistic expectations of Obama. As he always says, “I’m going to need you all to raise issues to get my attention,” because it’ll be competing with every other constituency. He can’t look like he’s going to the White House as a crusader for black people. So, there must be an ongoing movement for him to respond to. So, I think he’s the best choice for the country, but he’s by no means a panacea. 

KW: You ran for president just four years ago. Were you surprised by Obama’s success at landing the Democratic nomination?

AS: Not at all. My campaign and his were totally different. I ran in the tradition of a Jesse Jackson, to raise issues. He ran to win, in the tradition of an Ed Brooke or a Doug Wilder. We helped change the tone. But you can’t compare our approaches. I think we do different things that hopefully complement each other. 

KW: How do you feel about shaking things up, but not necessarily sharing the spotlight in victory?

AS: We do it all the time. Believe me, we fight a lot more cases than people hear about. I’ll give you an example. When I went down to Georgia for the Troy Davis case. I’d spoken about it for a year on my syndicated radio show. They were the ones who asked me to come out stronger on his behalf. Many times, the victims want us to bring the spotlight, because they can’t get any attention. Yet, people say, “Oh, there’s Sharpton out there again,” but that’s the point. Nobody calls you in to hide their issue. The publicity is exactly what they want. The point is, there have been a lot of other victims. The question is, why haven’t we heard about them? And if the National Action Network has created the infrastructure to get the spotlight, then why are you begrudging us that, unless you don’t really want those issues exposed, or unless you’re envious and you want the spotlight yourself. In that case, you should do the work. Believe me, the end of the work is the spotlight.       

KW: Did you feel that the Clinton campaign started “racializing” the campaign in January when they tried to pigeonhole Obama as the black candidate?

AS: Absolutely. I think it was very subtle on some levels, and very blatant on others. And I very publicly criticized it at the time.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

AS: No. When I came terms with death in ‘91, I got passed fear. The only thing I fear now is that we won’t get all the work done before I die. I’m not afraid to die. I’m going to die. Death is certain. Living is uncertain. Once you have a close brush with death, you make up your mind. I could’ve walked away then to build a big church, and still had my place in history. But I believe in what I’m doing, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that it might cost me my life, and I’ve been doing it ever since.  

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

AS: As happy as I could be!

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson’s question: What was the last book you read?

AS: In fact, I’m reading a book right now by Jonathan Rieder called The Word of the Lord is upon Me: The Righteous Performance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I would highly recommend it because the author is very good.

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

AS: No, I’ve been asked just about everything I need to be asked.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What’s music are you listening to nowadays? 

AS: I listen to Gospel and a lot of R&B. On my iPod there’s a lot of James Brown and Gospel. I love the song “I Never Would Have Made It.”

KW: How long are you going to keep your hairstyle?

AS: As long as I live. That’s part of my personal bond with James Brown. You know James asked me to do that. 

KW: Have you ever seen that duet of James Brown with Pavarotti doing It’s a Man’s World? [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCIyzNISw1Q]   

AS: Yeah, I remember when he did it. It was very moving.

KW: You lost a lot of weight fasting while serving three months in jail for civil disobedience on Vieques, and kept it off.   

AS: Yes, and that was another victory. You know, we did close that U.S. Naval base in the end.

KW: How do you feel about Congressman Rangel’s recent legal woes?

AS: Clearly he has some things to correct, but I thought it was overblown. Come on, the kind of attention the press paid to that over what were relatively small amounts of money, you have read a political agenda into it.  

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

AS: I want to be remembered as the guy in his generation who helped keep the social justice movement going. I will not sit in the chamber of power, but be the person on the outside challenging the system. Somebody has to play that role in every generation, and I want to be remembered as being comfortable playing that role in mine.

KW: Well, thanks again for the time, Reverend Al. No justice, no peace.   

AS: Take care, man, Bye-bye.

 

To see a video of Rev Al Sharpton in action, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUi6IYDBbZY

www.disilgold.com- The Tyler Perry Interview


 

                        Tyler Perry                 

The Family That Preys Interview

with Kam Williams

 

Headline: A Visit to Tyler Perry’s House of Perry

 

Tyler Perry’s path from the perilous streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood is a unique and inspiring version of the American Dream. Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, from a young age he found a way to summon the strength, faith and perseverance that would later form the foundation of his award-winning plays, films, books and TV show, House of Payne.

            Tyler credits a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey for setting his meteoric rise in motion. Encouraged to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself — reflections full of pain, forgiveness and, in time, a healing catharsis. Along the way, he spent a challenging period homeless, sleeping in seedy motels and in his car, but his faith in God and, in turn, in himself, only got stronger. Forging a powerful relationship with the church, he kept writing until his perseverance paid off, and the rest is history.

            Here, the prolific and versatile Renaissance Man shares his thoughts about his latest production, The Family That Preys, a movie which he wrote, produced, directed and co-stars in.

 

KW: Hey Tyler, thanks so much for the time.

TP: Hi Kam, good to talk to you again.

KW: Where did you get the idea for The Family That Preys?

TP: I was just going through some things in my life I was having issues with. This newfound fame was really starting to smother me, and somebody asked me, are you living or just existing? I thought “Wow!” and I started writing, and this film came out of that. At the time I heard Lee Ann Womack singing of “I Hope You Dance” and it really touched me. When you watch the movie, towards the end you’ll see a Gladys Knight remake of the song at the moment that the film takes on the personality of, “Live! Life is short! Live every day like it’s your last.”

KW: I love your work, and admire all that you’ve accomplished which always makes me wonder how your brain works differently from the rest of ours.

TP: You know what I think it is? I just may be a little bit more inquisitive. For example, when someone tells me “No,” I ask “Why?” like I did with House of Payne which will be going into syndication on the 22nd of September. Originally, they told me that I had to shoot one show a week, because that’s how it’s done in Hollywood. But when I questioned that, nobody could tell me why. The same thing happened when they told me you could only shoot one movie per year. When I asked “Why?” nobody could give me an answer. So, I believe it’s the inquisitiveness which breeds everything else that comes along with it. I just ask a lot of questions.

KW: Do you see The Family That Preys as being more of a mainstream movie, or do you see it as appealing to your regular demographic?

TP: I think it’s definitely going to appeal to my same audience. But do you know what I was doing? I was just telling a story. When I imagined the first two characters, I saw Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates. And then when I started developing their relationships, all these kids came out of it. So, I didn’t set out to go mainstream with this film. That wasn’t my intention. This is just me telling a story.  

KW: We recently passed the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Have you had an opportunity to go back to your hometown, New Orleans, lately to check on the progress of the recovery?

TP: I have, and nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed. The only thing different is that people are being evicted from those FEMA trailers. 

KW: Is there any question that no one ever asks you that you wish someone would?

TP: Yeah, “Can I pay for dinner?” Nobody ever asks me that.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

TP: Certainly, there are times when I feel fear, but I don’t live in it. I think as human beings we all feel fear, but I refuse to live in it. So, it doesn’t last very long.

KW: Have you ever been disappointed.

TP: Certainly, I’ve been disappointed a lot. But you take your disappointments and you learn from them. If you learn a lesson from them, then you’re okay, because as long as you’re human there will be disappointments.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

TP: Yeah, I can honestly say I’m truly, truly, dancing and living my life. And I think this film was my catharsis to getting there.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

TP: I haven’t read a book in a very, very long time, because when I’m writing I don’t like to see other people’s work. I don’t want to see something great and not be able to use it, and I don’t want to have any subconscious influences. So, it’s been an extremely long time. I think the last book I read might have been Maya Angelou’s Hallelujah!

KW: Music maven Heather Covington asks: What are you listening to nowadays?

TP: Everything from Lee Ann Womack to Jay-Z’s 30’s the new 20.

KW: Who are you supporting for president?

TP: Barack. Absolutely Barack!

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

TP: As a person who made people laugh, but inspired us all to be better.

KW: What message do you want people to get from The Family That Preys?

TP: That everyday is a gift. Life is short, so live it like it’s your last.

KW: Well, thanks again for the interview, and good luck with the film.

TP: Thank you, my friend, and I’ll talk to you soon.

 

 

To see a trailer for The Family That Preys, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXt-FzVksfM   

 

Copyright 2008. Disilgold.View full interview at www.disilgold.com.

www.disilgold.com- The Spike Lee Interview: On the Makings of Miracle of St. Anna


 THE SPIKE LEE INTERVIEW

w/Kam Williams

www.disilgold.com

KW: What interested you in making Miracle at St. Anna?

SL: Reading the original source, James McBride’s novel. The man’s a great writer. That’s what drew me to the project. 

KW: How was it filming on location in Europe for the first time?

SL: It was a great experience. Practically this whole film was shot in Italy. I’d love to shoot over there again soon, maybe not in Italy, but somewhere else.  

KW: What was the most challenging aspect of shooting?

SL: Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and you have to hike that equipment up the mountains and hills to get those shots. But that’s just part of the job. I would love to make another movie there. The light there is wonderful. You can not get that on the back lot in a studio. The small village the soldiers stumble into is 800 years-old. Where we able to shoot at a lot of locations where actual incidents took place, like the massacre. I think it adds something for both the cast and crew when they know they’re standing on the same exact spots as the scenes they’re recreating.   

KW: How was it collaborating with James McBride, who also wrote the script?

SL: It was a great working experience, and I think that he would say the same thing. We had disagreements, but we respected each other’s opinion, since we both wanted what was best for the film.

KW: Mr. McBride says Miracle at St. Anna is fiction inspired by real events. Can you tell me some of things in the story that are real? 

SL: Well, the 92nd Division, the Buffalo soldiers, they did fight in Tuscany against the Nazis. The massacre in St. Anna di Stazzema on August 12, 1944 where the Nazis’ 16th Division of the SS slaughtered 560 innocent Italian civilians really happened. The statue head, that’s real, too.

KW: Would you say Miracle at St. Anna is more than a war movie?

SL: This film is definitely more than just a war film. Of all the movies I’ve done, this one, by far, has more discussions of religion, faith and hope. That reflects James McBride‘s novel which is all about hope, faith, prayer, belief and God.

KW: What do you expect people to take away from this movie?

SL: I’m not in the business of telling audiences what to think. I respect their intelligence, and they’ll make up their on minds about what they think.

KW: During World War II, America’s armed forces were segregated and the Department of Defense directed embedded cameramen not to film African-American GI’s in action. And no blacks were subsequently featured in any of the early war films from the Forties and Fifties, and none were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in World War II until Bill Clinton belatedly corrected the glaring oversight during his presidency. Was your purpose in making this movie an attempt to rectify the deliberately whitewashed version of history? 

SL: Well, that was part of it, because at the time these black men were fighting for the United States, the Army was still segregated. And they not only fought the Fascists and the Nazis for the Red, White and Blue, but they had to fight Jim Crow down South once they got home. But the whole movie isn’t about the Buffalo Soldiers. We spent a great deal of time with the Italians, too, and the story is framed within a murder mystery. But nonetheless, there’s been a great omission here, and the surviving Buffalo Soldiers I’ve spoken to are elated that we’re doing this film.

KW: NYU History Professor Yvonne Latty urged Clint Eastwood, even before he began production on Flags of Our Fathers, to include black soldiers in the film since somewhere between 700 and 900 African-Americans had fought on Iwo Jima. She even sent him a copy of her book about these forever unsung heroes, but to no avail. Is this the basis of your ongoing beef about the movie with Eastwood?

SL: I’m glad you’re saying that, because it needs to be known that there were people saying stuff to Clint even before he shot the film. So, this stuff is on record. I was not the first one to voice those sentiments.

KW: As far as I can tell, you’re the only film director who individually credits every musician who plays on his soundtrack. Why do you do that?

SL: Because I grew up in a jazz household, my father [Bill Lee] is a great jazz bassist, and I value the contributions of the musicians and the composer. My father did the scores for my movies in film school, and for She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing and Mo’ Better Blues. And Terence Blanchard did all the scores for my films since. Musicians are great artists. In my opinion, I think they’re the greatest artists. If somebody gets credit for pushing a dolly or holding a boom mike, why should someone who’s playing the violin, the bass, the trumpet, the French horn or the oboe not get credit too? They contributed as much as anybody else. That’s why I give musicians credit in my films.   

KW: I appreciate that, being from St. Albans, which was an enclave of black musicians when I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties. 

SL: Yeah, I know it had James Brown… Count Basie… and my man Milt Hinton.

KW: Count Basie lived up the block. We used to swim in his pool as kids. You know who else lived in St. Albans? Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Oliver Nelson, Lena Horne and Illinois Jacquet to name a few off the top of my head. But it was first integrated by Jackie Robinson, along with baseball. Speaking of sports, how do you think the Knicks will do this season?

SL: Well, I hope we have a winning record. [Laughs] Notice I said “hope.”

KW: Where in Brooklyn did you grow up?

SL: We were the first family to move into Cobble Hill, which at the time was primarily an Italian neighborhood. Cobble Hill is right by the Brooklyn docks, and almost all the people that worked the docks were Italian back then when the waterfront was alive and thriving. Funny thing, we got called “nigger” a couple of times, when we first moved in, until they saw that there weren’t anymore black families moving in behind us. We never had any more incidents after that. 

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

SL: Yeah, very happy.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

SL: Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama.

KW: Who are you supporting for president?

SL: Barack Obama!

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

SL: Everybody’s afraid.

KW: What has been your biggest disappointment?

SL: My biggest disappoint so far was when I couldn’t get that Jackie Robinson film made. And then, when I couldn’t get the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling film made, or the James Brown bio-pic.

KW: Do you have a bio-pic in the works?

SL: Yes I do. I just optioned the right to the autobiography of a black physicist and professor at the University of Connecticut named Ronald Mallett called The Time Traveler. He’s drawn up the blueprint for a time machine.   

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would

SL: Not really.

KW: The Music Maven Heather Covington question: What’s music are you listening to nowadays? 

SL: Right now I’m listening to Raphael Saadiq’s new album, The Way I see It, and to Terence Blanchard’s score to Miracle at St. Anna.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

SL: For my body of work.

KW: Thanks for the time, Spike.

SL: Alright man, thanks.

To see a trailer for Miracle at St. Anna, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXMVLN5rqpA

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 Copyright 2008. Disilgold. For full interview visit www.disilgold.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophina’s Numb3r Is Up: Interview with Sophina Brown of CBS Series Numb3rs


Sophina’s Numb3r Is Up: Interview with Sophina Brown of CBS Series Numb3rs

Interview w/ Kam Williams

www.disilgold.com

            Sophina Brown was born on September 18, 1976 in Saginaw, Michigan where she began acting in the second grade and hasn’t stopped since. She earned a B.F.A in Theatre Performance from the University of Michigan before heading to New York City and landing the lead of Nala in The Lion King.

Today, she’s perhaps best known for as Raina Troy on the CBS drama Shark. Since the show was recently cancelled, she returned to the stage temporarily at The Matrix Theater in Los Angeles to play Emma in a new production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal.” Here, she talks about her now joining the ensemble cast of the CBS series Numb3rs in a recurring role as Nikki.               

KW: Hi Sophina, thanks again for the time.

SB: Hi, thank you.

KW: Tell me a little about your character?

SB: Nikki is very different from any character I’ve played before. She goes off instinct, rather than intellect. She’s not afraid to get physical either. She’s used to using her fists before her words.  Nikki’s a lot rougher around the edges than Raina, that’s for sure!

KW: What surprises can fans of the show anticipate seeing this season?

SB: Well, I can’t give away any of the surprises, but Nikki definitely brings a new element to the FBI team.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

SB: I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. It is so true, I say it every day.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

SB: I actually read a lot more plays than books.  The last play I read was Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

SB: Yes, but never for long; any fear dissipates because of my faith.  So fear pops up for me, but I don’t ever let it consume me. 

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

SB: No one ever really asks me about my faith, because no one ever really seems interested in that, but it’s the most important thing to me; I’m Christian, so it’s my life.

KW: What do you like to do to unwind?

SB: I go see a lot of theater, I love going out to eat and trying out new restaurants, and I’m a pretty awesome bowler.

KW: Music maven Heather Covington’s question: What music are you listening to nowadays?

SB: Right now, I’m listening to Prince’s CD that came in his new coffee table book. The book is called 21 Nights, and the CD, Indigo Nights, is of his concerts. It’s a live version of his songs.

KW: Do you finally have a page at MySpace or your own website? You didn’t the last time we spoke.

SB: No, I still don’t, I’m probably the last person on Earth without it.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

SB:  Am I going somewhere?

KW: Not anytime soon. Thanks for another interview, and best of luck with Numb3rs and all your other endeavors. 

SB:  Thank you.

Copyright 2008.  DIsilgold. Full interviews are archived on www.disilgold.com.

The Brandon Jackson Interview from Movie Tropic Thunder


Brandon T. Jackson

                        The Tropic Thunder Interview with Kam Williams

 

Headline: Brandon on Breakout Role in Tropic Thunder

 

            Brandon T Jackson was born in Detroit on March 7, 1984 to preachers Bishop Wayne T. and Dr. Beverly Y. Jackson. One of seven siblings, he credits his father for his sense of humor, and says some additional inspiration comes from such icons as Sinbad, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith and Chris Tucker.

            Ever the class clown, Brandon’s passion for comedy led to his doing talent shows and going onstage during youth nights at his family’s church. By age 14, his career as a stand‑up comic had already evolved from local school shows to community projects such as the Motor City Youth Festival.
            After graduating from West Bloomfield High School, he headed to Hollywood to take a shot at showbiz as a standup comedian. Not long thereafter, he was discovered while performing at the Laugh Factory.

As his stature gradually grew, Jackson received offers to open for such stars as Chris Tucker and Wayne Brady. And he subsequently appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo” and BET’s “Comic View.” Critical acclaim eventually led to film roles in Ali, 8 Mile and Envy, as well as being cast as Bow Wow’s best friend, Junior, in “Roll Bounce.”  

Recently, he launched the “Teens of Comedy Tour” presented by BET which featured Lil JJ’ and some of the nation’s funniest teenage comedians. He also hosted the “Up Close and Personal Tour” headlined by Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana and Dem Franchize Boyz, and he can currently be seen as a cast member on MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out.”
            Communicating with and motivating youth is a mission etched in Brandon’s heart, so when not working he spends his time reaching back to help kids take their lives to the next level. Here, the 24 year-old role model talks about his latest picture, Tropic Thunder, an action comedy co-starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr.

 

KW: Hi Brandon, thanks for the time.

BJ: Whazzup?

KW: Congratulations on Tropic Thunder!

BJ: Thank you, man.

KW: What interested you in this role?

BJ: You know what? I read the script and it was really funny. So, I decided to go audition for it. And after auditioning for the role about a dozen times, Ben [director Ben Stiller] finally said, “You’re the one for the part.”

KW: That’s a lot of call backs.

BJ: Yeah, it was a lot of work.

KW: How was it being directed by Ben after that?

BJ: When we got on the set, all this magic just started happening from there. It was great, man, because he’s so intense, and he knows how to get what he needs out of you. As an African-American comedian, I was used to playing more to the punch line, and he showed me how to stay within the character instead of going for the joke. It was all magic.

KW: So, did you have to stick closely to the script?

BJ: No, I had to stick closely to the character. Any deviations or ad-libs had to be consistent with the character.

KW: You co-starred with Ben and a couple of other big-name actors in Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., who was in blackface. How was that/

BJ: It was crazy! Robert would stay in character the whole time. Ben would yell “Cut!” and Robert would say things like, “I’m a go back to the trailer to get some barbecued chicken. You want to come with me Brandon?”  

KW: Did you feel like you were making an action film, a comedy, or both?

BJ: Both. Unfortunately, a lot of the action sequences didn’t survive the final edit. I understand that a movie can only be a certain length, but why have us shoot so much stuff just to cut it out. It was very taxing on my body

KW: It’ll all probably be on the DVD. Did you have to adopt a special diet or training regimen for the rigorous role?

BJ: Yeah, I ate plenty of potatoes and fish. I was only 22 at the time, and needed to get bigger to hang with the big dogs. So, I was lifting weights, and working out in Ben’s gym. 

KW: How did you do when you appeared on Showtime at the Apollo?

BJ: I killed.

KW: What’s it like trying to be a comedian when you’re the son of two preachers?

BJ: Hard. It’s tough. You have to try to balance both worlds. But it’s a job, and what I do in my personal life and my business life are two different things. It’s like how if you’re a lawyer and have to represent criminals, that doesn’t mean you don’t have certain core values. My personal beliefs are different from what I do for a living. In the final analysis, my job is to bring joy to people’s lives. If they’re laughing, then it’s not a bad thing. That’s how I feel about it. I’m a comedian.     

KW: Do you ever feel pressure to work clean because of your folks?

BJ: I did at first when I was kid. Now, it’s a little weird when I perform in front of my father, and he sees me cussin’. I’m not really used to that, but at the same time, this is what I do for a livin’. You know what I mean?

KW: Yep. Everyone calls you Chris Tucker’s protégé. Who would you say are your main influences?

BJ: Will Smith and Chris Tucker.

KW: Are you thinking of doing your own TV sitcom?

BJ: No, I want to stick to film.

KW: Is there any question no reporter has asked you, that you wished someone would?

BJ: That one right there. That’s a good question.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson wants to know, what was the last book you read?

BJ: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. 

KW: That’s the same book Mike Epps said he read last. The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

BJ: Yeah, I am. It’s a good time in my life right now.

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: Where in L.A. do you live?

BJ: The Valley.

KW: Are you ever afraid?

BJ: Yeah, I’m afraid of failure.

KW: Do you have website where fans can reach you?

BJ: Yeah, www.myspace.com/brandontjackson and you can even put my phone number in the article, (323) 622-8110, if anybody wants to talk to me on my fan line.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

BJ: As one of the greatest comedians who ever walked the Earth.

KW: You’re from Detroit. What do you think of the city’s embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Should he step down at this point?

BJ: He has to stop the b.s. now. It’s too much. Come on, dog, you can’t be doing all that. It’s too hot, If he’s going to step up and be a good mayor, then he should stop playing around. We need hope right now. The country has many serious problems which need to be addressed and too many politicians have failed us. Enough! Stop b.s’ing. 

KW: Do you consider yourself religious?

BJ: How come only black reporters ask me that? Black and white people have a totally different view of religion. Of course, I believe in God, and I’m definitely a Christian, but at the same time, I’m in this business. So I find the question annoying, because I’d prefer to be able to keep my spirituality to myself.

KW: The only reason I ask is because your parents are preachers.

BJ: I hate to cut you short, but I have to go.

KW: Well, thanks for the time, and good luck with everything.

BJ: Cool man, I apologize. I never do people like this, but I’m really late for this other thing.

KW: No problem, just promise me another interview with your next movie when you’re a big star.

BJ: I will. You got it.

 

To see a trailer of Tropic Thunder, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pxOzSpUXtg  

 

Visit Brandon Jackson at www.myspace.com/BrandonTJackson

Interview with Ed Gordon: Turning the Tables on the Emmy-Winning Interviewer


 

Ed Gordon:The Daddy’s Promise Interview

with Kam Williams
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http://www.disilgold.com/images/500_DLNA-_Ed_Gordon.jpg

Edward Lansing Gordon, III was born in Detroit in 1960. Both his parents, Ed and Jimmie, were schoolteachers, although his father is best remembered for winning a gold medal in the long jump at the 1932 Olympics. Ed credits them both with instilling in him his dedication to the tireless work ethic which served him well while earning his B.A. in communications and political science at Western Michigan University and subsequently in his Emmy-winning career as a television journalist.

His name became synonymous with celebrity interviews while with the Black Entertainment Television Network where he hosted Conversation with Ed Gordon along with anchoring BET News and BET Tonight. In that capacity, he is perhaps most famous for landing the first post-acquittal one-on-one with O.J. Simpson. Ed’s impressive resume also includes intimate tete-a-tetes with President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Reverend Al Sharpton, Halle Berry, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jamie Foxx, Minister Louis Farrakhan, South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela, R. Kelly and Senator Trent Lott, just to name a few

Since BET, Ed has enjoyed stints at CBS as a correspondent on 60 Minutes and at NBC as a commentator on Dateline and The Today Show. He is currently hosting a couple of nationally-syndicated programs: Our World with Black Enterprise and NPR’s News and Notes with Ed Gordon.

Besides collecting his fair share of professional accolades such as an NAACP Image Award and the National Association of Black Journalist’s Journalist of the Year Award, Ed has also been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine.

Though divorced, he remains very much a part of the life of his 14 year-old daughter, Taylor. Inspired by the positive response to an article he wrote for Essence Magazine about his commitment to Taylor, Ed recently launched his latest project: Daddy’s Promise (http://www.daddyspromise.com/), an initiative celebrating the bond between African-American men and their daughters.

KW: Hey, Ed, I’m honored to get some time with you.

EG: No, my pleasure, I appreciate your taking the time for this.

KW: What inspired you to write the article for Essence?

EG: Just the relationship that I have with Taylor. I had always wanted kids and thought I’d have a boy. But I had this little girl and she’s just been such a joy to me. I really only wanted to say that out loud. And after it was published, the response was overwhelming. I always knew that Essence was the Bible for black women, but I never understood until then just how far-reaching it was. After that response, I felt that I needed to do more, and we came up with Daddy’s Promise, a national initiative. Ironically, we knew we were going to launch it around Father’s Day, but Barack Obama’s recently speaking about the need for men to be fathers makes it even more poignant.

KW: Do you think part of your originally wanting to have a son might have had to do with you’re being Ed Gordon, III and the son of an Olympic gold medalist?

EG: Probably. My brother suggested that that was just my little macho thing, wanting to relive my childhood and high school years by watching a son play basketball and football and date pretty girls. I suspect a lot of men feel like that. But my brother also told me, “You’re about to receive a gift in a woman who will love you like no other. Not like your mother, not like your wife or any girl friend you’ve ever had. This person will love you unconditionally, in a way which you won’t be able to fathom until you experience it.” He was so right. But I also see the importance of men being in their daughters’ lives.

KW: What do you hope the program will accomplish?

EG: We know that sisters are doing such a fine job going to college and entering the corporate world, yet often when you talk to them, many still have a void from not having a father in their lives. And they might make certain decisions which, upon reflection, they might wish they hadn’t made. But they didn’t have a road map. You can often tell a woman who didn’t have a father in her life.

KW: How can fathers get involved with your rogram?

EG: Go to the website, http://www.daddyspromise.com/, download the pledge, hand it to your daughter, tell her you love her, and send us a picture of the two of you to show the world that you are a good father. We’re trying to get people to stand up and say, “Hey, I’m a good one, and join me.” The first wave is very symbolic.

KW: Are you at all worried about your message being misconstrued the way some people unfairly labeled Bill Cosby elitist and out of touch after his call for black self-responsibility?

EG: I don’t see that happening because this movement is not doing any finger-pointing. I’m saying that, in general, there are a lot of ills in our society and in our community that we have to fix, period. And we need to be about fixing them. This is a celebration of the brothers who are doing the right thing. And those who aren’t know who they are. We’re trying to make this an initiative where brothers who aren’t doing the right thing will want to come on board and turn things around.

KW: Did you have any problems with Obama’s Father’s Day speech in which he sharply criticized absentee African-American fathers?

EG: No. Look, I think that as a community we have to be willing to step up and examine our ills without being concerned that we might be seen as blaming the victim or telling tales out of school, so to speak. We have problems, as does the rest of the world. We’ve faced a disproportionate share for a myriad of reasons. It’s not just because we’re trifling, there are a number of things that impact us. The point is we can’t continue to let those reasons, which run the gamut from racism to being trifling and everything in between, stop us. The world is moving at a very fast pace now, and we have to make sure that we stay in this race.

KW: Do you think it was fair for Obama to talk about the ills of the ghetto, when he was raised by his white mother and white grandparents in the Midwest, in Hawaii and overseas?

EG: Here’s my issue with that. I think it’s unfair for people to suggest, as you just did, that he didn’t grow up with a black experience. His was a black experience, just a different one. We have to understand that the black experience includes being a mulatto. Nobody complains about Halle Berry who was raised by her mom. And Halle’s been very up front about how she sees herself and who she is.

The reality is that black America comes in all shapes, colors, hair textures… the whole nine yards. And we have to start embracing it all, because that’s who we are. Barack Obama was first criticized for, quote, not being black enough and for not being able to understand the black experience. Now, when he deals with some real black issues, people are still knocking him.

KW: Do you feel at all funny about the popular notion that because Obama won the nomination America is now a post-racial society?

EG: I think it’s important to note that he has never suggested that. Often, the pundits are saying that. But I think we have to be mindful that as wonderful as this Obama wave is we still have to be careful. We are not beyond racism. This could very well be an anomaly, much as after Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for Gone with the Wind, it took another three decades for another black person to win an Academy Award. So, I think we have to be mindful of what can occur. That being said, I do believe that those of us who are of a certain age have to allow for the baggage to drop. I do think that the younger generation is less burdened by the weight of race. But let’s not assume that the vestiges of racism are gone just because Mr. Obama has the Democratic nomination. It certainly is a milestone that should be saluted. And it speaks to how far this country has come in the last forty years, but it doesn’t eradicate the issues or the problems which still face us in a country so consumed with race prejudice and quite frankly the question of gender as well. We still have a ways to go, so we should celebrate the accomplishment while being mindful that it is not by any means complete.

KW: Have you interviewed Obama?

EG: I’ve interviewed him a number of times. The last time was about a week or two before he declared. But we’re going back and forth with his folks right now about sitting down again with him in the immediate future.

KW: What did you think about the flap between him and Tavis Smiley, which resulted in Tavis’ resigning from The Tom Joyner Show.

EG: I think black America has to realize that this race is bigger than one thing. That’s how I see it. There are certain things this candidate is going to do and rules he has to follow. But it doesn’t mean that he isn’t with us. Barack Obama has been masterful in being middle ground enough for white America to embrace him but black enough for black America to say, “That’s our guy.”

KW: Are you familiar with black conservative Shelby Steele’s new book explains why Obama won’t win the Presidency because of his having to satisfy the competing concerns of black and white constituencies? I had a pretty interesting interview with him about it.

EG: Yeah, I interviewed him as well.

KW: Who are you supporting for President?

EG: Well, as journalists, as you know, because I’m on all of these shows, I do not publicly suggest who I support. But, eh, you know.

KW: Since you’re originally from Detroit, how do you feel about your hometown’s embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Do you think he should step down?

EG: I think he has certainly placed himself in a position that does not bode well for trying to hold the mayoral seat because there are so many issues likely to sidetrack him. I will be disappointed because Kwame is smart, charismatic and everything you would want in a leader. I’m sorry that some of the personal has involved itself in the political. And it has made things more difficult for a city that’s already reeling. In terms of resigning, he says that he doesn’t believe he should, so at this point you just let the process play itself out.

KW: What was it like to be named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” by People Magazine?

EG: Man, they had probably finished picking 49 and were tired, and I just happened to be passing by. Look, Kam, it’s flattering, and I appreciate it, but you can’t take that stuff seriously. Just when you start buying into it, something slaps you back down to Earth.

KW: When you interviewed O.J. Simpson, you asked him right off the bat whether he did it. But in retrospect were there any other questions you wished you’d asked him?

EG: No, I have learned over the years that as long as you’re well prepared, you do the best you can do. It’s funny because sometimes people will say you didn’t ask this or that, when you did ask those questions but the interviewee didn’t answer it in the way the viewer wanted. So, I’ve learned not to beat myself up after these interviews. If I can say I went in prepared, then I know I’ve done my best.

KW: That makes me think of the passing of Tim Russert who was among the very best at preparation.

EG: Tim was one of those anomalies in the business who started off at the other end, as an executive, and found his way in front of the camera. And you can see just by the outpouring of sympathy and well-deserved tributes that he’s receiving that he touched America deeply.

KW: How well did you know him?

EG: During my years at NBC, I was stationed in New York while he was in D.C., so I didn’t get to see him a lot, but we would do a lot of cross-talks on the shows. And he, as everyone has mentioned, always had very nice and supportive things to say to you. Professionally, you could see that he had passion for what he did. That’s key. I don’t know that you could find anything that better suits someone for a career than passion. So, it’s a big loss.

KW: Which of your interviews did you find the most interesting?

EG: Honestly, without sounding too corny, I find almost every interview I do interesting, because everyone has a story. So, if you listen, you’ll see that there is a unique dynamic when dealing with each person. But in terms of the interview which was most special to me, while most people think it must be either O.J. Simpson or R. Kelly, it actually was the first time I had an opportunity to sit down with Nelson Mandela. I am underwhelmed by most interviewees, but I was floored by this man. Floored! I’m really meat and potatoes. I ain’t that deep. But you could feel this man’s presence when he walked into the room before he even uttered a word. I’m probably most proud of that interview because he’s an extraordinary person and because it was conducted in his home in South Africa.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

EG: Most days.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

EG: Hmm… rarely, but yes.

KW: Is there any question that no one ever asks you that you wish someone would?

EG: No, because I never think I’m that interesting. So, no.

KW: What you think of BET programming and Bob Johnson’s new film studio, Our Stories Films?

EG: I can’t really comment about Our Stories Films, because I haven’t seen their first movie, Who’s Your Caddy. As for the direction of BET, look, BET is what it is. I had concerns when I was there, and often fought about the programming. But I also understood that it wasn’t my ball, and that the person that controls the ball controls the game. So, I tried to represent the news department as best I could. That being said, my disappointment is more with the fact that until TV-One came about, black people only had one television network, because competition spurs better programming and better thought. So, my bigger disappointment was with the industry itself and with the failure of black entrepreneurs to give BET competition when it was more feasible, economically, to get in the game.

KW: How do you feel about your longevity in this business?

EG: I’ve been very blessed and feel very fortunate to be able to work in a number of areas and to make some noise with the interviews and programs I’ve done through the years, and to be able to work continuously, which is not easy in our industry. The fact that I’m hanging on and have some gray hair now, is okay.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

EG: As Taylor’s daddy, and a good one.

KW: How did it feel to be on the other side of an interview?

EG: Some interviewers-turned-interviewees don’t like not being in control, but I wasn’t really bothered by it.

KW: Thanks again, Ed. I appreciate the time.

EG: Thank you for your interest.

To check out Ed’s website, visit: http://www.daddyspromise.com/

To hear Gil Scott-Heron’s classic tribute to his daughter ”Your Daddy Loves You” visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD9Ku5qEPjQ

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Where is Actress Angela Bassett? Find out in this exclusive www.Disilgold.com interview


 

Angela Bassett
The Meet the Browns Interview
with Kam Williams

 

Headline: Angela Gets Her Groove Back

 

            Born in New York City, but raised by her single-mom, Betty, along with her sister, D’nette, in St. Petersburg, Florida, Angela Evelyn Bassett studied acting at Yale University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies and a Master’s in Theater. She began her professional career on stage, performing both on and off-Broadway in productions of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Colored People’s Time,” “Henry IV, Part I,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” “Antigone,” “Pericles” and “Black Girl.”

 

            Angela later landed what might be described as her breakout role as Reva Devereaux in John Singleton’s BOYZ N THE HOOD, and she received additional critical acclaim for her moving performance as matriarch Katherine Jackson in the ABC mini-series “The Jacksons:  An American Family.” Nominated for an Oscar in 1994 for her unforgettable portrayal of Tina Turner in WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, Angela is also a thirteen -time NAACP Image Award-nominee, winning for that picture along with THE ROSA PARKS STORY, SUNSHINE STATE, THE SCORE, HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, MUSIC OF THE HEART, WAITING TO EXHALE, RUBY’S BUCKET OF BLOOD and MALCOLM X..

 

The embodiment of dignity, pride and grace, she invariably electrifies audiences via her emotionally-charged characterizations. Away from the set, with her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, she co-wrote FRIENDS: A LOVE STORY, a best-seller published on Valentine’s Day last year. The inspirational autobiography chronicles the real-life love story of Bassett and Vance, who were friends for many years before marrying.

 

In 2006, the couple became parents, celebrated the arrival of twins, daughter Bronwyn Golden and son Slater Josiah. Here, Angela talks about life, career and her new movie, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, where she stars opposite former NBA star Rick Fox.

 

 

KW: Hi Angela, this is an honor. Thanks for the time.

 

AB: Sure.

 

KW: How was it being directed by Tyler Perry?

 

AB: It was great, even though there were some long, hot days in Atlanta. [Chuckles] But, they weren’t long enough.

 

KW: How about working with Rick Fox?

 

AB: It was absolutely delightful. He was a joy to work with.

 

KW: Even though you’re such an accomplished actress, and he didn’t have nearly the same amount of experience?

 

AB: That’s true enough, but he has life experience, and he certainly brought all of himself to the moment. He wasn’t afraid of hard work, and he was open and emotionally available. So, he won me over as a co-star.  

 

KW: Where did you channel your character from? Have you ever known a single-mom at the end of her rope like Brenda?

 

AB: Oh, absolutely! My mom raised my sister and me single-handedly in Florida. So, day-to-day, I saw the struggles of doing it on your own without help, and how tired that makes you, and the dreams and aspirations you have for your children. I know that she pushed us in regard to getting our education, finding advocates in our principals and teachers at school.

 

KW: And she was quite successful, given your graduating from Yale.

 

AB: Yeah, it was a wonderful victory and accomplishment for her, especially since she wasn’t able to go to college herself. Education was something stressed almost to my chagrin growing up, at times. Since we were toddlers, she stressed, “You’re going to college! You’re going to college! You’re going to college!” So, it was a happy moment for her.   

 

KW: I can remember how my mother always made me finish my homework before I was allowed to go out to play.

 

AB: Yeah, all that extra-curricular stuff came to a screeching halt, if your grades weren’t up to par. And par was at least Bs or better. If you wanted to keep your good thing going, then you took care of your job, and that was getting those grades together.    

 

KW: What sort of message do you want people to get from Meet the Browns?

 

AB: To persevere and keep on moving forward. Just put one foot in front of the other, whatever the obstacles may be. Hold out for hope, because you will turn a corner and find a situation that’s a whole lot better.

 

KW: Is there any question that no one has ever asked that you wished someone would ask you?

 

AB: Oh no, no question’s been off-limits. [Laughs] I can’t say I’ve ever thought to myself, “Oh, I wished they’d ask me this or that.”

 

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

 

AB: Ecstatic!

 

KW: “Are you ever afraid?” I got that question from Tasha Smith.

 

AB: Oh really? Am I ever afraid? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I’m human, so…

 

KW: Who are you supporting for president?

 

AB: Barack Obama.

 

KW: Jimmy Bayan, “Realtor to the Stars,” wants to know where in L.A. you live. 

 

AB: Hancock Park.

 

KW: Congrats on your many NAACP Image Awards. You might not know that I’m on the nominating committee.

 

AB: Oh, are you? I wondered who voted. Where are you based?

 

KW: I’m in Princeton, New Jersey. You have quite an impressive body of work. Which of your roles has been the most satisfying?

 

AB: I love all my “children” but I would have to say What’s Love, because it was the most challenging and the most fulfilling, because it resonated with so many people, and because it has stood the test of viewing again and again. It was the role that pushed me and pulled me more than any other.

 

KW: You’ve been everyone from Tina to Katherine Jackson to Betty Shabazz to Rosa Parks in bio-pics. Do you enjoy playing real-life icons?

 

AB: Yeah, I absolutely do, and I’m always humbled and I’m grateful for each opportunity. 

 

KW: Have you ever gotten any feedback from a person you’ve portrayed?

 

AB: Yes, Tina was very, very pleased. I got very positive feedback from her.

 

KW: How about Rosa Parks?

 

AB: I was able to meet her, but she was elderly at the time, and had other priorities in her life. I also got positive feedback from Katherine and her children, and from Betty Shabazz and her family.

 

KW: Do you have any plans to work with your husband soon?

 

AB: We did a play a couple of years ago, His Girl Friday. And we’re always holding that out as a possibility.

 

KW: I hope to be able to catch you and Courtney again up on the screen. Well, thanks for the time, Angela, and good luck with Meet the Browns.  

 

AB: Thank you so very much.

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See photo on www.Disilgold.com.

www.Disilgold.com- THE HEATLIST COUNTDOWN- She’s Here! The Raven Symone Interview: Quoting Raven


Raven Symone Interview

with Kam Williams

 Quoting Raven

            Born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 10, 1985,
Raven-Symone’ Christina Pearman moved with her family to New York City
while still a toddler.  By the age of two she had already been signed
by the Ford Modeling Agency, and she soon started doing TV ads for
everything from Cool Whip to Fisher Price toys to Ritz crackers to
Jello. Not long thereafter she would join Jello pitchman Bill Cosby on his
popular, Emmy-winning sitcom, worming her way into America’s heart as
adorable Olivia. She subsequently appeared on such series as The Fresh
Prince, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, My Wife and Kids and The Cheetah Girls
before landing her own show on the Disney Channel, That’s So Raven.
            She made her big screen debut in 1994 as Stymie’s
girlfriend in The Little Rascals, followed by well-received
performances in Dr. Dolittle 1 & 2 and The Princess Diaries 2. Singing
since she was 4, Raven has also enjoyed quite a musical career,
releasing her first CD, Here’s to New Dreams, in 1993. And she is
currently working on her fourth album which is scheduled to drop
sometime this Spring.
            Among her many accolades are seven NAACP Image Awards,
including a couple just this year for That’s So Raven. The former child
star deserves to be commended for avoiding the host of woes which have
befallen so many of her kiddie colleagues en route to adulthood, such
as her ex-roommate Lindsay Lohan and misfit mom Britney Spears.
 Here, Raven talks about her new movie, College Road Trip, a family
comedy where, opposite Martin Lawrence, she plays the teenage daughter
of an overprotective police chief.

KW: Thanks for the time, Raven.
RS: Hi!
KW: How was it working opposite Martin Lawrence?
RS: He was very professional, although he’s so funny it was often hard
to keep a straight face while shooting. But having watched and studied
him, I knew what I was getting into. I knew what I had to prepare for,
and how to react towards him.
KW: What message do you want audiences to walk away with from College
Road Trip?
RS: That family is very important. And that, yes, everybody wants to
grow up, but you have to realize that parents always think of their
kids as that little boy or girl, so you have to help them see that
you’re growing up and can handle yourself in a respectful manner.
KW: Have you mapped out a plan so that your fans who have known you as
a little girl will accept you as a woman?
RS: Of course. I think any business you go into, you should definitely
write up a plan, whether in Hollywood or in corporate America. And I
think that even as a person, you have goals to reach, and you always
want to refer back to what you want, although you can always tweak it.
But yeah, I definitely take steps to show people that I’m growing, and
hopefully they will be growing with me.
KW: What did you learn about showbiz during your formative years on the
Cosby Show?
RS: Honestly and truthfully, since I was 3 to 5 years old, I think I
learned everything subconsciously from their actions, namely,
professionalism, to always be creative, and to always enjoy yourself,
but at the same time know that this is a job, and to take it seriously
because a lot of people’s livelihoods are at stake. So, you need to be
professional.
KW: One of your fellow cast members in this film was Donny Osmond,
another former child star. What was it like working with him?
RS: I have to say he was fabulous and down-to-earth. Even though he’s
been in the business as long as he has, he’s still a real person. We
sat down and talked, and he made me laugh.
KW: Did the two of you ever discuss your both having grown up in the
industry?
RS: Yes, we definitely talked about it. We have a lot of things in
common, surprisingly. I think that’s why I enjoyed him so much, because
he knows these struggles that I go through, and because he overcame all
of them and is still working to this day. He’s the type of person who’s
cool about it when he’s spotted on the street even though he’s
bombarded by so many people. He can still live a life; and I like that
about him.
KW: You’re playing a girl about to go to college in this movie. Do you
ever wish you had gone to college in real life?
RS: Well, I still have college in my plans. I think you can go to
college at any age. It depends on the person that you are. I had a lot
of work after high school, so that wouldn’t have worked for me.
KW: When is your new CD going to be released?
RS: That’s still up in the air. They keep pushing it back. I’ve been
very busy, and I still have to do the artwork. I’ll be going on tour
from April all the way into August. I’m very proud of that, and I think
I’ll always continue to have both aspects in my life, just because it’s
a creative outlet for me.
KW: Which do you find more challenging acting or singing?
RS: How do I say this without sounding full of myself? Seeing that I’ve
don’t both for so long, they’re not all that difficult. With my music,
none of my albums really sold that much, so I need people to realize
I’m doing this because I do really love to sing, to write, and to
dance. When I perform, I don’t use a lip-synch track. I want people to
realize that I’m not joking when I do all my work.
KW: Would you describe yourself as happy?
RS: Would I describe myself as happy… Yeah… [Laughs] I’ve never gotten
that question before except from my psychiatrist.
KW: I got that question from Columbus Short.
RS: Oh, Columbus! You gotta love Columbo. He was on That’s So Raven.
Yeah, I’m happy and definitely focused, although in this industry you
go through your ups-and-downs just because not everything is going to
go your way. Everybody has their days, but overall, yeah, I’m very
happy with the way my life is going. And I’m healthy, and that should
always make you happy.
KW: Jimmy Bayan, “Realtor to the Stars,” wants to know where in Los
Angeles you live.
RS: I’m not telling nobody where I live.
KW: Can you just say what neighborhood?
RS: I live in L.A.
KW: Are you ever afraid?
RS: Yes, I’m always afraid. I’m afraid to fail.
KW: Well, I’m sure you’ll enjoy nothing but continued success. Thanks
for the interview, Raven, and good luck with this movie and all your
upcoming projects.
RS: Take care, and have a good day.

Or: http://www.ravensymonepresents.com/index.html  

WWW.DISILGOLD.COM WORLWIDE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KENDA BELL, AUTHOR OF IN LOVE THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON!!!!!!THE BOOK EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT!


Author: Kenda Bell
Title: For Every Love There Is A Reason
Web site: www.kendabell.com
Email: kenda@kendabell.com

Disilgold: What can you tell the Disilgold community about yourself that will explain why Disilgold has sought you for a perSOULnalized interview?

Kenda Bell : Well, I cannot speak for Disilgold; I am so appreciative of the opportunity. I hope that my literary voice has resonated with you and your readers. Maybe it is the sassy yet sweet , delicately rare neo-soul flair I have with my words. I suppose that my desire to get out there inspite of my stutter …and grabbing folks ears has intrigued you. Stuttering was a part of me that I use to loathe but have learned to now embrace. My now slight vocal inflections not only make me unforgettable but has enhanced my writing. Who better to craft compelling dialogue than a person who has thought of the best words to say at the most opportune times yet kept them quietly in the pages of journals.While this has been a year of gains ; it has also been one of losses.While my novel made its debut on Valentine’s day , my dad was in his last days. By March 1st , he had decided it was time to return to his heavanly father. I can’t tell you how I battled selfish feelings of wanting him to still be here yet resolving that he had been truly healed and was in a better place devoid of oxygen tanks and pains. Pushing through the lost and going on was hard many a day …and still is but I know he wouldn’t want it any other way. I put a smile on my face and got out there…it is still hard at times but each day gets a little better.  
Disilgold: Thank you for sharing Kenda. Your words have comforted myself. I just found out that my father whom I haven’t seen for 14 years is gravely ill with Parkison’s. Been thinking about him for years and this fear of failure if I didn’t ever see him again I wouldn’t be able to pursue my literary goals  maximally because when I think of him at signings and events, I get choked up and resist folks asking me about my family.  My sister found me somehow whom I also haven’t seen since youth. We’re driving to Atlanta to spend time with my father who hid his illness all of these years. I guess he felt he would stop us from reaching our dreams and so he disappeared without a trace. My sis is a major producer  now and we share a lot of my father’s ambitions, so trust, I do understand all about speech impediments making you want to just journal and contain your feelings Kenda. I use to stutter as well, but taught myself how to stop at around age 10. You are an inspiration because if I hadn’t stopped, I see that I would have been fine. You show folks how to face adversity. Your work speaks volumes for you!What is your latest book about?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is a novel that shows you that not everything is as it first seems; especially in love. Often time’s choices are not easily made because circumstances are often shaded with varied degrees of gray. Best friends Keilah (Kay-lah) & Norelle take you along this path that is filled with ghost of love past that threatened the present, childhood dissappointments that taunt new hopes, and tightly held secrets the threatened to be exposed with each turn of the page. 

 

For starters, by the time barely-married, busy body Norelle figured out that she was beginning to look and act like the woman she blamed for her father’s death, she hoped that her own indiscretions with her son’s father, Tariq, does not cost her the perfect husband when she receives unexpected news. Even though she is walking a tight rope of half truths and lies, Norelle turns some of her energy toward helping her best friend Keilah look at the possibility of a second chance at love after she receive news from an old love that turns her world topsy-turvy.
 By the time you finish chapter one, the readers wonders “What did Andre expect from Keilah after he told her? Was he expecting Keilah to explain away his emotional duality, or more specifically, was he expecting answers to questions that were left unasked between them when they made a costly choice two years ago?” While Andre attempts to deal with the pain of his past, and anxiety about his present circumstances on his own, Keilah attaches herself to a man who she knows is not right for her rather than contend with the emotional avalanche that began with the choices her mother made so many years ago. Can Keilah get clear so she can see that special someone waiting just around the corner?

When flashbacks of the past and present collide, both Norelle and Keilah ask themselves what won’t they do for love. Norelle must deal with her own demons while Keilah must get emotionally naked once and for all with Andre to put together the pieces of their past so they can go on … with or without each other.
 For Every Love There Is A Reason takes the reader into a multi-layered tale of choices and consequences of thirty-something best friends, Keilah and Norelle, who slip and slide with laughter and tears through their own mistakes, as they try to make sense of love on their own terms.
 Disilgold: How long did it take you to complete your book?
Kenda Bell : From start to finish, it took roughly a year and a half to complete ‘For Every Love There Is A Reason. I commend disciplined authors who can create masterpieces in months.

Disilgold: What were the happiest moments you have experienced while writing your latest book?
Kenda Bell : I guess the epiphany that I worked overtime on my dream and not someone else’s… and it came to fruition. Now, don’t get me wrong I am thankful for my job, Lord knows it, but when I realized that I would not shudder to work OT for my employer for temporary gratification (extra money) yet felt I had no energy or time for my own dream of writing a novel…something was very wrong.
 Yes, I was compensated monetarily for my hours, but creatively I was expensed out. His/her dreams were being realized while mine had to wait. So I still worked OT but came home and sacrificed a few hours sleep for me. I looked wreck a couple mornings, but I felt good that I closer to my dream… you know what I mean?
Disilgold: Yeah, it sounds like Goapelle’s song. I think everyone has rocked that song on their website. Describe your writing style?
 
Kenda Bell : A rhythmic dance of words choreographed by the realities of life that connect all of us … tip toeing oh so carefully across gray areas love and life. Think about that neo-soul record that wraps lyrics around your ears so effortlessly that each verse resonates to the familiar places of you…yeah kind of like that.
  Disilgold: How did you develop your writing style?
Kenda Bell : I am still developing from my view point. As a freshman fiction world, I think I have presented an authentic voice of my own but I still have much to learn and vast room for improvement. Good can only get better with time, experience and mentoring.

Disilgold: Mentors are hard to find these days. Everyone who makes it only has time to sign copies of their books at events. but there are some who find the time to support authors. Do you have a favorite author of all time or someone who inspired you to achieve your goals as a writer?
Kenda Bell : I am partial to the contemporary literary midwives Toni Morrison & Alice Walker. The depth of their works keeps me in constant pursuit of raising the bar in my writing.

Disilgold: These are Literary Divas everyone loves. I think I have every book these ladies have written Kenda. Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
Kenda Bell : I hope to have several bestselling books (both fiction & non-fiction) under my belt, some award winning plays & films. I also want to be running a successful non-profit for single parents and children.

Disilgold: Just do it Kenda. Anything is possible when you have achieved the first  book. I will be in the first row with new tickets. What marketing tips can you provide to new authors?
Kenda Bell : Learn your market but don’t limit your audience. Focus more on the themes in your book that may connect with people rather than just race, gender, or age. Always be excited about your work and never get caught without bookmarks or postcards…you never know who you’ll meet at the grocery store or gas station.

Disilgold: So true. You said it. What other projects are you working on?
Kenda Bell : Well, I have been working on a non-fiction version of “For Every Love There Is a Reason” but my readers have been demanding a sequel.  A lot of people have gotten so invested in my characters’ lives that need to know what’s going on with them like they are friends of theirs ; so I have give the readers what they want. I am also learning how to do a screenplay, “For Every Love There Is A Reason”. When I saw “Why Did I Get Married?”, all I thought about was how great my novel would look on the big screen. Another project , that is ongoing is Kenda. I am always on the hunt for new ways to make myself better.
Disilgold: What are your top ten favorite books right now?
Kenda Bell :
1)  
The Holy Bible
2)   Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
3)   The Street by Ann Petry
4)   Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
5)   Sula by Toni Morrison
6)   God Is A Verb by David Cooper
7)   The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
8)   Value In The Valley by Iyanla Vanzant
9)   Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
10) For Every Love There Is A Reason by Kenda Bell

Disilgold: I’m not mad at you!!!When do you write and for how long?
Kenda Bell : I do most of my core writing at night, usually beginning at 10pm until about 1am unless the mood leaves and I leave it alone. If I am really on a roll, I may go until 3am. I try to write every day, but life with its many changes makes it difficult at time, so frequency fluctuates.

Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
Kenda Bell : Well, since I got my laptop just about anywhere. In bed, at the dining room table, on the living room floor… no matter!

Disilgold:Girl, for me it’s even the gym while riding a bicycle. I hear you.  What method did you use to write or organize your book?
Kenda Bell :  I am not structured writer. I like to take a subject and theorize it based upon limited circumstances. After that, I start to think what questions surround the subject and the type of people who may be involved in the issue. Once I do that I begin to visualize and carve out scenes as they come to me and build the story around scenes. I have tried outlines, and they just don’t work for me. Some authors are gifted like that; maybe as I move along on this journey, outlines will serve me better.
Disilgold: Now that is interesting! What three words best describe your writing style?
Kenda Bell : Unapologetically human, delicately raw, rhythmic realism…okay that was six words but three concepts…so I answered it…right? (smile)

 
Disilgold: That’s a violation, but I will let that one slide because you represented with DisilgoldSOUL at the Book Expo’s African American Pavilion and gave inspiration to many people who stopped by. I thank you for that Kenda. What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren’t writing?
Kenda Bell : I love vintage stores and consignment shops and any odd stores. I love discovering hidden treasures. I found some of the funkiest gear and wonderful art pieces in the most interesting places. I like to constantly being in a learning mode…so new people…new restaurants…lectures…independent films…all of course budget allowing. I love to people watch, too. You can some of the most extraodinary story ideas just by holding a conversation with an everyday person. You would be surprised how many people actually tell me more things when they find out I am an author. 

 
 
Disilgold: Are there any hidden jewels or talents that you possess that many of your readers may not know?
Kenda Bell : Well, believe it or not I am a really good actress. While I have stuttered most of my life, I can take on a different voice or character and run with it…in most circumstances my stutter almost undetectable. I initially took theater in high school to help me with public speaking. I am an extrovert by nature but functioned for many years as an introvert due to a stuttering problem…talk about torture. I have gotten past it over the years. I am very much a conversationalist and I believe that is why my dialogues and inner voice sequences in “For Every Love There Is A Reason” has really won people over.
Disilgold: Where can folks buy your latest book?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com & any retail bookseller. If they don’t have it on the shelf, they can order it. You won’t be disappointed.

Disilgold: Where can folks meet you?
Kenda Bell : Well, I will be in Delaware and Maryland this month. In March I will hit the Quaker Mill Mall in New Jersey on March 2nd. I am really excited to meet with Rhonda Bogan and the Mocha Readers of Dayton, OH & the patron’s of Kana’s Cds & Bookstore & Borders Booksellers @ Polaris Mall in Columbus, OH. I will be doing something with Baltimore Natural Hair Expo in Baltimore this April.  I plan to venture south in the summer. I encourage book clubs, book lovers and booksellers to reach out. I am only an email away. I try to keep on the move. Book club meetings are my favorite, they are always so passionate and energized…plus they like to feed you really good food. So reach out to me and I will reach back.

Disilgold: What have been some of your toughest obstacles as a writer?
Kenda Bell : The first thing was thickening my thin skin. Whether it was rejection letters from agents and publishers to prospective readers looking over my book and placing back on the table, I had to get my mindset positive. Secondly, I would say learning time management. I still teeter the tightrope of personal, professional and artistic life. Thirdly, getting pass co-dependency. I had to learn my motivation to promote and continue to write should not be in direct correlation to how many accolades I get from fellow authors or how much praise I get from readers. Of course, I want to be appreciated for my work like anyone else, but I have to accept that I won’t please everyone all the time. All I can do is be my most authentic self and have faith that the people who enjoy my writing will share the good news to others.
Disilgold: This section of our interview requires brief responses since our inception.

The “Get PerSOULnal” Interview
Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?

Kenda Bell : Monday from Friday, I try to get up by 6am. On the weekends, unless I have book signings or time sensitive errands, I try to sleep as long as I can. I am a night owl; so night time is my prime time.

Disilgold: What is your writing fuel at night?
Kenda Bell : If I have to get up early the next morning; Red Bull and skittles; if not Moscato wine. In either case, I have to have music…music is a must for my writing process.

Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Kenda Bell : It is a very rare occasion I write in the morning, unless it is between 1-4am… in which case…Red Bull, Skittles and my favorite CDs.

Disilgold: HA,HA…now that is an endorsement. What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
Kenda Bell : Skittles & fruit salad.

Disilgold: Lord, let me call Skittles and get you a commercial. I am sure their sales will go up for folks who read this interview. Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you’re writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
Kenda Bell : While I am writing, if I am trying to evoke a certain emotion I may pop in some of my favorite CDs. They range from Seal & Sting to Mary J & Jill Scott to Anthony Hamilton & Dwele … then I may slide in some Donnie Hathaway or Nina Simone along the way. If I am just in the building stage, I tune into my favorite internet radio stations www.soulsounds.com or www.neosoulcafe.com to get a good vibe going. Good music is to my writing process, like air is to wind.

 
 
Disilgold: What is your favorite book of all time?
Kenda Bell : It is so many books I love…this is so hard to answer. I can’t go on record saying just one.

Disilgold: What is your favorite magazine of all time?
Kenda Bell : Wow, that’s a hard one too. I used to really like Emerge.

Disilgold: Me too, whatever happened? Do you have an exercise regimen to suggest for busy writers?
Kenda Bell : I wish I could, I need to get one myself.

Disilgold: What is your everyday outfit?
Kenda Bell : I don’t have set style. You may see me in a tailored suit or skinny jeans and boots. Then yet again you may see me in a dashiki dress or a sassy crochet outfit. I basically wear what I like and what feels good at that moment. I do tend to favor earth tones w/variations of reds and oranges. I love chunky bracelets & rings in silver, cooper or bronze. Of course gold is good, too.

Disilgold: What is your pet peeve?
Kenda Bell : I am a pretty liberal person but I really do not like when kindness is perceived as a weakness. Taking advantage of a person is quick way to get a swift kick from the universe.

Disilgold: If you could inspire a child, what would you say?
Kenda Bell : Yes, we can!! Look to the American dream realized in Barack Obama…no limit! No matter what limitation you may think you have or have been told you have, you will because you can.

Disilgold: What is your favorite motto?
Kenda Bell : Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” Matthew 7: 6

Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your writing pen down and rest?
Kenda Bell : When the words don’t make sense anymore…

Disilgold: Have you traveled anywhere besides your hometown and if so, where?
Kenda Bell : I have mainly traveled north and south. I look forward to get back to traveling for book business and pleasure.

Disilgold: Where is your dream vacation?
Kenda Bell : Any place warm and exotic with beaches, good island food, a cool sweet drink and no stress w/my soul mate…and no haven’t met him yet.

Disilgold: What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
Kenda Bell : I love the fact that African American literature is no longer viewed monolithic by the masses. African American literature is no longer a singular genre but database for diverse genres that share varied interpretations of life. I also am appreciative that an author’s voice is not limited to traditional publishers’ approval. With small presses such as my home Xpress Yourself Publishing and self-publishing companies, voices will be heard.

Disilgold: If you could leave one word of advice to people in general, what would it be?
Kenda Bell : Be patient with yourself and try to be the best you can be and leave the rest up to God.

 

WWW.DISILGOLD.COM WORLWIDE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KENDA BELL, AUTHOR OF IN LOVE THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON!!!!!!THE BOOK EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT!


Author: Kenda Bell
Title: For Every Love There Is A Reason
Web site: www.kendabell.com
Email: kenda@kendabell.com

Disilgold: What can you tell the Disilgold community about yourself that will explain why Disilgold has sought you for a perSOULnalized interview?

Kenda Bell : Well, I cannot speak for Disilgold; I am so appreciative of the opportunity. I hope that my literary voice has resonated with you and your readers. Maybe it is the sassy yet sweet , delicately rare neo-soul flair I have with my words. I suppose that my desire to get out there inspite of my stutter …and grabbing folks ears has intrigued you. Stuttering was a part of me that I use to loathe but have learned to now embrace. My now slight vocal inflections not only make me unforgettable but has enhanced my writing. Who better to craft compelling dialogue than a person who has thought of the best words to say at the most opportune times yet kept them quietly in the pages of journals.While this has been a year of gains ; it has also been one of losses.While my novel made its debut on Valentine’s day , my dad was in his last days. By March 1st , he had decided it was time to return to his heavanly father. I can’t tell you how I battled selfish feelings of wanting him to still be here yet resolving that he had been truly healed and was in a better place devoid of oxygen tanks and pains. Pushing through the lost and going on was hard many a day …and still is but I know he wouldn’t want it any other way. I put a smile on my face and got out there…it is still hard at times but each day gets a little better.  
Disilgold: Thank you for sharing Kenda. Your words have comforted myself. I just found out that my father whom I haven’t seen for 14 years is gravely ill with Parkison’s. Been thinking about him for years and this fear of failure if I didn’t ever see him again I wouldn’t be able to pursue my literary goals  maximally because when I think of him at signings and events, I get choked up and resist folks asking me about my family.  My sister found me somehow whom I also haven’t seen since youth. We’re driving to Atlanta to spend time with my father who hid his illness all of these years. I guess he felt he would stop us from reaching our dreams and so he disappeared without a trace. My sis is a major producer  now and we share a lot of my father’s ambitions, so trust, I do understand all about speech impediments making you want to just journal and contain your feelings Kenda. I use to stutter as well, but taught myself how to stop at around age 10. You are an inspiration because if I hadn’t stopped, I see that I would have been fine. You show folks how to face adversity. Your work speaks volumes for you!What is your latest book about?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is a novel that shows you that not everything is as it first seems; especially in love. Often time’s choices are not easily made because circumstances are often shaded with varied degrees of gray. Best friends Keilah (Kay-lah) & Norelle take you along this path that is filled with ghost of love past that threatened the present, childhood dissappointments that taunt new hopes, and tightly held secrets the threatened to be exposed with each turn of the page. 

 

For starters, by the time barely-married, busy body Norelle figured out that she was beginning to look and act like the woman she blamed for her father’s death, she hoped that her own indiscretions with her son’s father, Tariq, does not cost her the perfect husband when she receives unexpected news. Even though she is walking a tight rope of half truths and lies, Norelle turns some of her energy toward helping her best friend Keilah look at the possibility of a second chance at love after she receive news from an old love that turns her world topsy-turvy.
 By the time you finish chapter one, the readers wonders “What did Andre expect from Keilah after he told her? Was he expecting Keilah to explain away his emotional duality, or more specifically, was he expecting answers to questions that were left unasked between them when they made a costly choice two years ago?” While Andre attempts to deal with the pain of his past, and anxiety about his present circumstances on his own, Keilah attaches herself to a man who she knows is not right for her rather than contend with the emotional avalanche that began with the choices her mother made so many years ago. Can Keilah get clear so she can see that special someone waiting just around the corner?

When flashbacks of the past and present collide, both Norelle and Keilah ask themselves what won’t they do for love. Norelle must deal with her own demons while Keilah must get emotionally naked once and for all with Andre to put together the pieces of their past so they can go on … with or without each other.
 For Every Love There Is A Reason takes the reader into a multi-layered tale of choices and consequences of thirty-something best friends, Keilah and Norelle, who slip and slide with laughter and tears through their own mistakes, as they try to make sense of love on their own terms.
 Disilgold: How long did it take you to complete your book?
Kenda Bell : From start to finish, it took roughly a year and a half to complete ‘For Every Love There Is A Reason. I commend disciplined authors who can create masterpieces in months.

Disilgold: What were the happiest moments you have experienced while writing your latest book?
Kenda Bell : I guess the epiphany that I worked overtime on my dream and not someone else’s… and it came to fruition. Now, don’t get me wrong I am thankful for my job, Lord knows it, but when I realized that I would not shudder to work OT for my employer for temporary gratification (extra money) yet felt I had no energy or time for my own dream of writing a novel…something was very wrong.
 Yes, I was compensated monetarily for my hours, but creatively I was expensed out. His/her dreams were being realized while mine had to wait. So I still worked OT but came home and sacrificed a few hours sleep for me. I looked wreck a couple mornings, but I felt good that I closer to my dream… you know what I mean?
Disilgold: Yeah, it sounds like Goapelle’s song. I think everyone has rocked that song on their website. Describe your writing style?
 
Kenda Bell : A rhythmic dance of words choreographed by the realities of life that connect all of us … tip toeing oh so carefully across gray areas love and life. Think about that neo-soul record that wraps lyrics around your ears so effortlessly that each verse resonates to the familiar places of you…yeah kind of like that.
  Disilgold: How did you develop your writing style?
Kenda Bell : I am still developing from my view point. As a freshman fiction world, I think I have presented an authentic voice of my own but I still have much to learn and vast room for improvement. Good can only get better with time, experience and mentoring.

Disilgold: Mentors are hard to find these days. Everyone who makes it only has time to sign copies of their books at events. but there are some who find the time to support authors. Do you have a favorite author of all time or someone who inspired you to achieve your goals as a writer?
Kenda Bell : I am partial to the contemporary literary midwives Toni Morrison & Alice Walker. The depth of their works keeps me in constant pursuit of raising the bar in my writing.

Disilgold: These are Literary Divas everyone loves. I think I have every book these ladies have written Kenda. Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
Kenda Bell : I hope to have several bestselling books (both fiction & non-fiction) under my belt, some award winning plays & films. I also want to be running a successful non-profit for single parents and children.

Disilgold: Just do it Kenda. Anything is possible when you have achieved the first  book. I will be in the first row with new tickets. What marketing tips can you provide to new authors?
Kenda Bell : Learn your market but don’t limit your audience. Focus more on the themes in your book that may connect with people rather than just race, gender, or age. Always be excited about your work and never get caught without bookmarks or postcards…you never know who you’ll meet at the grocery store or gas station.

Disilgold: So true. You said it. What other projects are you working on?
Kenda Bell : Well, I have been working on a non-fiction version of “For Every Love There Is a Reason” but my readers have been demanding a sequel.  A lot of people have gotten so invested in my characters’ lives that need to know what’s going on with them like they are friends of theirs ; so I have give the readers what they want. I am also learning how to do a screenplay, “For Every Love There Is A Reason”. When I saw “Why Did I Get Married?”, all I thought about was how great my novel would look on the big screen. Another project , that is ongoing is Kenda. I am always on the hunt for new ways to make myself better.
Disilgold: What are your top ten favorite books right now?
Kenda Bell :
1)  
The Holy Bible
2)   Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
3)   The Street by Ann Petry
4)   Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
5)   Sula by Toni Morrison
6)   God Is A Verb by David Cooper
7)   The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
8)   Value In The Valley by Iyanla Vanzant
9)   Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
10) For Every Love There Is A Reason by Kenda Bell

Disilgold: I’m not mad at you!!!When do you write and for how long?
Kenda Bell : I do most of my core writing at night, usually beginning at 10pm until about 1am unless the mood leaves and I leave it alone. If I am really on a roll, I may go until 3am. I try to write every day, but life with its many changes makes it difficult at time, so frequency fluctuates.

Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
Kenda Bell : Well, since I got my laptop just about anywhere. In bed, at the dining room table, on the living room floor… no matter!

Disilgold:Girl, for me it’s even the gym while riding a bicycle. I hear you.  What method did you use to write or organize your book?
Kenda Bell :  I am not structured writer. I like to take a subject and theorize it based upon limited circumstances. After that, I start to think what questions surround the subject and the type of people who may be involved in the issue. Once I do that I begin to visualize and carve out scenes as they come to me and build the story around scenes. I have tried outlines, and they just don’t work for me. Some authors are gifted like that; maybe as I move along on this journey, outlines will serve me better.
Disilgold: Now that is interesting! What three words best describe your writing style?
Kenda Bell : Unapologetically human, delicately raw, rhythmic realism…okay that was six words but three concepts…so I answered it…right? (smile)

 
Disilgold: That’s a violation, but I will let that one slide because you represented with DisilgoldSOUL at the Book Expo’s African American Pavilion and gave inspiration to many people who stopped by. I thank you for that Kenda. What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren’t writing?
Kenda Bell : I love vintage stores and consignment shops and any odd stores. I love discovering hidden treasures. I found some of the funkiest gear and wonderful art pieces in the most interesting places. I like to constantly being in a learning mode…so new people…new restaurants…lectures…independent films…all of course budget allowing. I love to people watch, too. You can some of the most extraodinary story ideas just by holding a conversation with an everyday person. You would be surprised how many people actually tell me more things when they find out I am an author. 

 
 
Disilgold: Are there any hidden jewels or talents that you possess that many of your readers may not know?
Kenda Bell : Well, believe it or not I am a really good actress. While I have stuttered most of my life, I can take on a different voice or character and run with it…in most circumstances my stutter almost undetectable. I initially took theater in high school to help me with public speaking. I am an extrovert by nature but functioned for many years as an introvert due to a stuttering problem…talk about torture. I have gotten past it over the years. I am very much a conversationalist and I believe that is why my dialogues and inner voice sequences in “For Every Love There Is A Reason” has really won people over.
Disilgold: Where can folks buy your latest book?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com & any retail bookseller. If they don’t have it on the shelf, they can order it. You won’t be disappointed.

Disilgold: Where can folks meet you?
Kenda Bell : Well, I will be in Delaware and Maryland this month. In March I will hit the Quaker Mill Mall in New Jersey on March 2nd. I am really excited to meet with Rhonda Bogan and the Mocha Readers of Dayton, OH & the patron’s of Kana’s Cds & Bookstore & Borders Booksellers @ Polaris Mall in Columbus, OH. I will be doing something with Baltimore Natural Hair Expo in Baltimore this April.  I plan to venture south in the summer. I encourage book clubs, book lovers and booksellers to reach out. I am only an email away. I try to keep on the move. Book club meetings are my favorite, they are always so passionate and energized…plus they like to feed you really good food. So reach out to me and I will reach back.

Disilgold: What have been some of your toughest obstacles as a writer?
Kenda Bell : The first thing was thickening my thin skin. Whether it was rejection letters from agents and publishers to prospective readers looking over my book and placing back on the table, I had to get my mindset positive. Secondly, I would say learning time management. I still teeter the tightrope of personal, professional and artistic life. Thirdly, getting pass co-dependency. I had to learn my motivation to promote and continue to write should not be in direct correlation to how many accolades I get from fellow authors or how much praise I get from readers. Of course, I want to be appreciated for my work like anyone else, but I have to accept that I won’t please everyone all the time. All I can do is be my most authentic self and have faith that the people who enjoy my writing will share the good news to others.
Disilgold: This section of our interview requires brief responses since our inception.

The “Get PerSOULnal” Interview
Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?

Kenda Bell : Monday from Friday, I try to get up by 6am. On the weekends, unless I have book signings or time sensitive errands, I try to sleep as long as I can. I am a night owl; so night time is my prime time.

Disilgold: What is your writing fuel at night?
Kenda Bell : If I have to get up early the next morning; Red Bull and skittles; if not Moscato wine. In either case, I have to have music…music is a must for my writing process.

Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Kenda Bell : It is a very rare occasion I write in the morning, unless it is between 1-4am… in which case…Red Bull, Skittles and my favorite CDs.

Disilgold: HA,HA…now that is an endorsement. What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
Kenda Bell : Skittles & fruit salad.

Disilgold: Lord, let me call Skittles and get you a commercial. I am sure their sales will go up for folks who read this interview. Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you’re writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
Kenda Bell : While I am writing, if I am trying to evoke a certain emotion I may pop in some of my favorite CDs. They range from Seal & Sting to Mary J & Jill Scott to Anthony Hamilton & Dwele … then I may slide in some Donnie Hathaway or Nina Simone along the way. If I am just in the building stage, I tune into my favorite internet radio stations www.soulsounds.com or www.neosoulcafe.com to get a good vibe going. Good music is to my writing process, like air is to wind.

 
 
Disilgold: What is your favorite book of all time?
Kenda Bell : It is so many books I love…this is so hard to answer. I can’t go on record saying just one.

Disilgold: What is your favorite magazine of all time?
Kenda Bell : Wow, that’s a hard one too. I used to really like Emerge.

Disilgold: Me too, whatever happened? Do you have an exercise regimen to suggest for busy writers?
Kenda Bell : I wish I could, I need to get one myself.

Disilgold: What is your everyday outfit?
Kenda Bell : I don’t have set style. You may see me in a tailored suit or skinny jeans and boots. Then yet again you may see me in a dashiki dress or a sassy crochet outfit. I basically wear what I like and what feels good at that moment. I do tend to favor earth tones w/variations of reds and oranges. I love chunky bracelets & rings in silver, cooper or bronze. Of course gold is good, too.

Disilgold: What is your pet peeve?
Kenda Bell : I am a pretty liberal person but I really do not like when kindness is perceived as a weakness. Taking advantage of a person is quick way to get a swift kick from the universe.

Disilgold: If you could inspire a child, what would you say?
Kenda Bell : Yes, we can!! Look to the American dream realized in Barack Obama…no limit! No matter what limitation you may think you have or have been told you have, you will because you can.

Disilgold: What is your favorite motto?
Kenda Bell : Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” Matthew 7: 6

Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your writing pen down and rest?
Kenda Bell : When the words don’t make sense anymore…

Disilgold: Have you traveled anywhere besides your hometown and if so, where?
Kenda Bell : I have mainly traveled north and south. I look forward to get back to traveling for book business and pleasure.

Disilgold: Where is your dream vacation?
Kenda Bell : Any place warm and exotic with beaches, good island food, a cool sweet drink and no stress w/my soul mate…and no haven’t met him yet.

Disilgold: What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
Kenda Bell : I love the fact that African American literature is no longer viewed monolithic by the masses. African American literature is no longer a singular genre but database for diverse genres that share varied interpretations of life. I also am appreciative that an author’s voice is not limited to traditional publishers’ approval. With small presses such as my home Xpress Yourself Publishing and self-publishing companies, voices will be heard.

Disilgold: If you could leave one word of advice to people in general, what would it be?
Kenda Bell : Be patient with yourself and try to be the best you can be and leave the rest up to God.