SYLVIA: Right, yes it is. We’ve seen you in several diverse roles and now you have embarked upon the original movie My Other Mother, which was produced by Swirl Films and directed by Stan Foster. How did you hear about this role and what you’re your preparation process?
ESSENCE: I actually was working on another movie of the week in Trinidad when I got the offer, actually, from Eric, who is the owner of Swirl Films, and I’ve worked with him before. He sent me an email and said, “Hey, I know you’re in Trinidad, but I really want you to play this part.” And he told me that Lynn Whitfield was attached. Well, that was the first reason to say yes. I’ve worked with Lynn before, twice before I actually on two other projects, an independent movie called Act Like You Love Me and on Are We There Yet, the TV series I did with Terry Crews, she played my mother in both of those projects. So I had worked with her before and I was anxious and excited about the possibility of working with her in a more dramatic realm, and working closer with her, which was just an extraordinary experience, such a blessing, really, because she’s an amazing woman and a very dynamic and interesting and cool person to be around, but besides that, she’s such a great artist. So it was a learning experience, and it was an enjoyable one for me. And then there was the script, which Kiki won the ABFF Screenwriting Competition that UP does and she won for her original screenplay and I read the script and I just thought that the characters had a lot of dimension and they were dealing with, a lot of people say “Well, how can you relate to the whole you’re adopted, what’s it like to long for answers about your biology?” But I think that longing is longing, and I do relate to being at a stage in your life where your career is what you wanted it to be, what you worked for it to be, and still feeling like something was missing, and I think a lot of people can relate to that, male and female. Just the idea of what matters to you and what brings meaning to life when you put so much time and energy into just one aspect of it, which is your professional career. So that was the thing that really intrigued me and I was able to kind of anchor into. And the rest of it was some questions, some research, and then just imagination, which is an actor’s best tool sometimes.
SYLVIA: Can you tell us a little bit about Candace Meyers, the character that you’re portraying, and are you able to really identify with her as far as your own personal experiences?
ESSENCE: Candace Meyers, she’s a go-getter. She’s a successful woman, she’s at the top of her game. She hosts a talk show, a contemporary talk show with a cohost played by Russ Parr. And they’re doing very well and she is a woman of excellence and she is a woman of integrity, and she’s very demanding, and a lot of people misinterpret that drive and don’t like her for it, and she can be abrasive. And part of that has to do with her just not encompassing her whole life and not living a full life, and again, as I said earlier, I think that that’s something that as we embark on our professional careers, we often do neglect the rest of life and focus so much on accolades and achievements that we just put the rest of it to the wayside. So that’s one of the things that I really loved about her. And the journey that she goes on, initially, she wants to find her biological parents because she thinks that will give her some sort of answer and perspective. And it does, but not in the way that she tried to micromanage it to do. And again, I think in the end, what it is that she was ultimately searching for was just what mattered most to her and what was most important, and finding some sort of balance between what we all are talking about these days, which is that life-work balance.
Read Essence full interview in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE
Atlanta mayor to vandalizing protesters: ‘This is not a protest … this is chaos’
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Friday evening denounced vandalism in her city as “chaos” after demonstrations over the death of George Floyd while in in the custody of Minneapolis police turned violent.
“What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos,” an impassioned Lance Bottoms said at a news conference.
“A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city,” she said. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote. … That is the change we need in this country.”
The protests had started as peaceful Friday afternoon when crowds gathered in the city’s famed Centennial Park. But by 6 p.m. ET, protesters began moving toward the front of the CNN Center, where police had gathered. Over the next few hours, the demonstration swelled as SWAT officers were called in to help with crowd control.
Later, protesters could be seen damaging CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, which is sandwiched between Philips Arena and Centennial Park.
In response, Lance Bottoms, whose name has been floated as a possible vice presidential pick for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, referenced CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, who earlier Friday had been arrested — and then released about an hour later — while covering protests over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
“There was a black reporter who was arrested on camera this morning, who works for CNN. They are telling our stories, and you are disgracing their building,” she said. “We are no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man. We’re talking about how you’re burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.”
Anger over the death of Floyd spilled over into multiple cities across the country after the former officer seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder.
Demonstrators funneled their anguish in cities like New York and Washington into chants, signs, and outbreaks of violence, smashing windows and setting vehicles ablaze.
“I am a mother to four black children in America, one of who is 18 years old,” Lance Bottoms said. “Yesterday, when I heard there were rumors about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do, I called my son and I said, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I cannot protect you, and black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ “
“So you’re not going to out-concern me and out-care about where we are in America,” she added.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after he was pinned down by police officer Derek Chauvin. The video of the handcuffed man dying while Chauvin knelt on his neck sparked a fresh furor in the US over police treatment of African Americans. The video shared online showed Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired four police officers following the death in custody of George Floyd. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Demonstrations are being held across the US demanding justice for Floyd.
BREAKING: Cobb DA Joyette Holmes Named Prosecutor In Ahmaud Arbery Case
Georgia’s attorney general will appoint a new prosecutor in the Ahmaud Arbery case.
Attorney General Chris Carr will name Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes to take over the case, Belcher learned.
Belcher spoke to Holmes, who did not deny it but instead just referred him to the current special prosecutor, Thomas Durden.
The official announcement is expected later today, Belcher said.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed by a father and son as he jogged through their Glynn County neighborhood back in February. A video shot on a cellphone showed the confrontation between Arbery and the McMichaels after they confronted him with guns. It took 74 days for the McMichaels to be arrested and charged for Arbery’s death.
The McMichaels say that they suspected Arbery had broken into a home nearby that is under construction. Authorities said the McMichaels, thinking he was a burglary suspect, pursued him.
Arbery was shot and killed moments later.
BLACK MUSIC HONORS 2019
CENTRAL CITY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS THE 2019 BLACK MUSIC HONORS IN A NEW CITY AND VENUE
XSCAPE, FREDDIE JACKSON, YOLANDA ADAMS AND ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT TO RECEIVE BLACK MUSIC HONORS RECOGNITION
RICKEY SMILEY AND LETOYA LUCKETT RETURN AS HOSTS OF TELEVISION SPECIAL
CHICAGO, IL. – July 26, 2019 – Chicago based television production company Central City Productions announces the 2019 Black Music Honors television taping set to take place on Thursday, September 5th at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA. During this star-studded two-hour television special, Central City Productions (CCP) will honor artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music.
The honorees for this year’s Black Music Honors include Xscape who will receive the Urban Music Icon Award for the platinum selling quartet group’s 25 years in the industry. Yolanda Adams will receive the Gospel Music Icon Award. Culturally-conscience eclectic group, Arrested Development and chart-topping crooner, Freddie Jackson, whose career has spanned over 33 years, will also be honored.
“The vision behind the Black Music Honors is to recognize the trailblazers in African American music who have paved the way for the artists of today. Many of these artists have never received their much-deserved recognition,” stated Founder and Executive Producer, Don Jackson.
Television and radio personality Rickey Smiley and Grammy® Award-winner and actress LeToya Luckett return as co-hosts of the show, which is set to air in broadcast syndication Sept. 14 – October 20, 2019. State Farm returns as the show’s title sponsor.
The epic event will be held at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre located at 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show taping at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at: blackmusichonors.com and ticketmaster.com
The 4th Annual Black Music Honors show is Executive Produced by Don Jackson, with Jennifer J. Jackson serving as Producer and Michael A. Johnson as Producer and Director.
For more information on Black Music Honors, please visit www.blackmusichonors.com and connect on social media@blackmusichonors #BMH2019 and #BlackMusicMatters.