There’s a tremendous amount of organization and planning that goes into everyday. There’s no way I could do all that I do without having a really organized life and schedule. In really good at organizing. I think it’s the Virgo in me. I mean I am a Scorpio but I heard that one of my planets is in Virgo. So maybe that’s the reason why. [laughs]
You’ve played some really memorable roles throughout your career like Nina in “Love Jones” and Jordan Armstrong in “The Best Man.” Which one has been your favorite?
Well, I’m getting ready to play Jordan Armstrong again. I start shooting the sequel to “The Best Man” soon. The working title is “The Best Man Christmas” it might change though. We start that in April so I’m excited to relive Jordan. She’s very feisty, very organized, and knows what she wants. She’s all about business. But I think you’re going to see her find her heart in the sequel. That’s her big challenge.
My all-time favorite is “Love Jones.” I have a special place in my heart for that film. It is visually beautiful and the story is amazing. You saw two black people finding love, being in love, and losing love in a way that was urban with an edge. But the story is so universal.
My favorite is Jordan Armstrong. She had the best lines in “The Best Man.” When you smack Taye Diggs and do the whole, “I don’t wanna hear about no goddamned peas!” That is the best line ever.
I think I made that up or maybe I didn’t. Maybe that was a Malcolm Lee line. The greatest thing about being an actor is once you know the character you really get your wings and can fly. That’s when you really start having fun and find those little moments and make the character pop off the page by adding little things you know the character would do. You get to deliver amazing lines that are written for you, but you also get the freedom to add your twist to it. Yeah, that’s probably one of my favorite lines “I don’t wanna hear about no goddamned peas!” I really don’t wanna hear about no goddamned peas. [laughs]
A lot of the roles you’ve taken on have been really strong women. Is there a reason you’ve gravitated towards those roles instead of the roles of subservient females?
I just think playing a woman who’s strong and dynamic is more interesting. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t play a woman who is subservient and maybe emotionally challenged in some way. But there has to be layers to any character. The layers are what make a project appealing to me. You don’t want to play a one-not character. Having layers, having challenges, having emotional challenges are all things, I think, every actor dreams of when searching for that next character. Being one-note is boring. Even if she’s feisty, you still want to find the reason behind those emotions and traits and then sprinkle some of that into the performance.
I remember you directed a few music videos. Will you be doing anymore directing?
I’m developing a project with a friend of mine named Ann Wolfe. She’s a female boxer and it’s her life story. That project is my baby and it’s something that I’m working on diligently. It’s my passion project so it may take a long time to happen but it will happen. I plan on directing that. So we’re taking it say by day and developing the script and making sure we have a really solid story. So I’m excited about that.
I know you were very involved in the presidential election. With Obama being elected, did you find that the films that had black characters regressed a little bit? We got Obama in the White House and then we had “The Help” and “Django Unchained.” Plus, there a few other slavery type films coming out.
I don’t know if that has anything to do with him being the president. Genres come and go. If “The Help” comes out and there’s huge attention and lots of money that’s being made, then studios are going to jump in the bandwagon. But I liked “The Help.” I think it was a story about a group of women. Octavia Spencer and other people who I know we’re apart of that film. I happen to think it was really good. But I don’t think that it was some sort of backhanded agenda to our us in our place because we have a black president. It’s an interesting concept and theory but it doesn’t resonate with me so much.