Actresses Valarie Pettiford and Telma Hopkins are stage and screen veterans who used to star together in the beloved sitcom Half and Half. The two are reuniting for TV One’s original movie, Welcome to the Family, premiering on Saturday, September 26th at 8 p.m. Pettiford and Hopkins are among the fabulous grown Black women who have found a home on TV as there are more roles available. Pettiford and Hopkins say their onscreen chemistry comes naturally.
” The first time we saw each other was at an audition,” says Hopkins. “We always just connected. We really liked each other. We would always spend time together during the auditions. Funny enough when we auditioned for Half and Half we were the only two actors that they didn’t put together until the last minute.”
Pettiford and Hopkins are among the pioneering Black women on television (along with former 24 and Castle star Penny Johnson Jerald, Scandal’s Khandi Alexander and Law and Order‘s Tamara Tunie and S. Epatha Merkerson) in the last wave who appeared on TV shows as ‘women of a certain age’ and set it up for some of the women enjoying leading roles on TV now. Viola Davis, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson have reaped the benefits of those that came behind them. So do Pettiford and Hopkins wish they’d come along a little later to reap more of the benefits of the recent renaissance of Black TV acting talent?
“It’s about opportunity,” says Hopkins. “You cannot get accolades and awards of that magnitude and finally we have all these leading women with their own show. It’s still a long way to go but now we have a lot of incredible ladies leading their own show. We’re finally doing the lead roles and doing so many incredible out-of-the-box characters.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview.