Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 22, 2014

Missouri Gov Forms Commission To Look At Ferguson Unrest

Jay Nixon
ASSOCIATED PRESS

How 'Hip-Hop, As Usual, Is Ahead Of The Game'

Wiz Khalifa
Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Labor Secretary: Lack Of Paid Parental Leave In U.S. Is Embarrassing

Labor Secretary Tom Perez
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Missouri State Senator Arrested During Ferguson Protests

Jamilah Nasheed
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Boko Haram Clashes Rage On Despite Ceasefire Reports

Boko Haram
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama Has Perfect Reaction To Woman's Jealous Boyfriend

Barack Obama
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images

Ebola Cases Rise Sharply In Western Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Shonda Rhimes Shuts Down Tweeter Who's Upset With Gay Sex Scenes

Shonda Rhimes
Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images

Skip Bayless Made Outrageous Claim About Kobe Bryant

Skip Bayless
Laura Cavanaugh via Getty Images

NYPD Still Arresting Large Number Of Minorities For Minor Marijuana Offenses

De Blasio
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

Wyoming Attorney General Says Gay Marriages Can Begin On Tuesday

Rainbow Flag
Getty

Urgency of Now: Why We Must Vote

Black Voter Turnout 2012
Getty

Cam'ron Is Selling The 'Fashionable' Ebola Masks You Never Asked For

Camron Ebola Mask
Dipsetusa.com

Man On Death Row Because In Texas, Being Black Means You're Dangerous?

Black Man Prison
Erika Kyte via Getty Images

Michael Rapaport Squashes Beef With Spike Lee

Michael Rapaport Spike Lee
James Devaney via Getty Images

Can Rand Paul Get 30 Percent Of The Black Vote In 2016?

Rand Paul
ASSOCIATED PRESS

How Becoming The First African NBA General Manager Inspires Masai Ujiri To Give Back

Nba Cares
NBA

Reggae Legend John Holt Dies

John Holt Reggae
David Corio via Getty Images

Nigeria Is Officially Ebola-Free After Containing Virus

Ebola Nigeria
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI via Getty Images

Why Are Black Women Dying of Breast Cancer, Even Though More White Women Are Diagnosed?

Tiffany Jones Pink
Andrew H. Walker via Getty Images

40 Contemporary African Artists Take On Dante's 'Divine Comedy'

Wangechi

For Battered NFL Wives, A Message From The Cops And The League

Ray Rice Janay
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Congressional Hearing On Ebola Was 'Shameful,' Janet Napolitano Says

Capitol
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Russian Tennis Czar Insults Williams Sisters

Serena Venus Williams
Elsa via Getty Images

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pens Scathing Dissent On Texas Voter ID Law

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Liberian Leader Warns Ebola Risks Causing A 'Lost Generation'

Ebola Liberia
John Moore via Getty Images

Obama Moves Into Campaign Mode

Obama
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Joanne Borgella Dies At 32

Joanne Borgella
Neilson Barnard via Getty Images

Why Vonderrit Myers Matters

Vonderrit Myers Family
Scott Olson via Getty Images

NIH Official: Budget Cuts Can't Be Blamed For Lack Of Ebola Vaccine

Ebola Outbreak
ZOOM DOSSO via Getty Images

Michael Dunn Sentenced To Life In Prison

Michael Dunn
ASSOCIATED PRESS

I Am a Liberian. I Am Not a Virus.

I Am Liberia
Let Girls Lead

Darren Wilson Says He Feared For His Life: Report

Michael Brown
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law

Supremes
Getty

Stacey Dash: Minorities Feel 'Worthless,' 'Uneducated' Under Obama

Stacey Dash
YouTube

Greatest Magazine Cover Of 2014?

Lupita
Courtesy

Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder In Video Endorsing Black Congressional Candidate

Cliven Bundy
David Becker via Getty Images

Nigerian Girls' Hometown Cautiously Hopeful For Their Release

Chibok
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI via Getty Images

Kobe Bryant Calls ESPN 'A Bunch Of Idiots'

Kobe Bryant
Jeff Gross via Getty Images

Stop And Frisk Linked To Trauma And Anxiety In Young Men

Stop And Frisk
ASSOCIATED PRESS

From Civil War In Sudan To The Silver Screen

Ger Duany Emmanuel Jal
Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

Still No Charges 3 Months After Eric Garner's Chokehold Death

Eric Garner
STAN HONDA via Getty Images

Facebook Fight Allegedly Led To 3-Year-Old's Fatal Shooting

Amiracle Williams
WDIV-TV

GOP Congressman Gets Boost From Racially Charged Ad

Ashford
NRCC

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

'Racism Insurance' Is The Full Coverage Policy A LOT Of People Need

Racism Insurance
YouTube / Dear White People

London Richards Is Your New R&B Obsession

London Richards
Jared Thomas

Diddy And Nas Set For Alicia Keys' Annual Black Ball

Diddy And Nas
Richard Bord via Getty Images

WATCH:
Baby Spinach Has Never Sounded More Hardcore

Ice Cube
ABC

'Saturday Night Live' Gets More Diverse

Leslie Jones Nbc
NBC

Wyatt Cenac Describes His 'Physical Altercation' With An 'SNL' Cast Member

Wyatt Cenac
Mike Coppola via Getty Images

Kerry Washington Talks 'Awkward' 'Scandal' Sex Scenes

Allure Photo
Carter Smith

For The Love Of God, People, Do Not Dress Up As Ray Rice For Halloween

Ray Rice
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Macy Gray: 'I Was A Massive A**hole'

Macy Gray On Where Are They Now
OWN

Afroman: 'After Marijuana Is Legalized, I'm Not A Criminal'

Afroman
HuffPost Live

16 Times Floyd Mayweather Jr. Bragged About Having More Money Than You

Floyd Mayweather
Dan Harr/Invision/AP

North West Heads To A Pumpkin Patch In Leather Pants

North West Pumpkin Patch
Instagram

Tyra Banks Proves You Can Be A Feminist And A Runway Model

Tyra Banks
Michael Tran via Getty Images

Beyonce Dons A Floral Romper For Night Out With Adele

Beyonce
Keith Hewitt via Getty Images

Jada Pinkett Smith Brought A Man On A Leash To Her 'Gotham' Audition

Jada Pinkett Smith
Nomi Ellenson via Getty Images

'SNL' Nails Important Point About Aid Programs In Africa In Hilarious Sketch

Saturday Night Live 39 Cents
Saturday Night Live / YouTube

Drake Shoots Hoops, Becomes Jimmy From 'Degrassi' Again

Drake
C Flanigan via Getty Images

LeBron James Returns To Akron

Lebron
Beats by Dr. Dre

Here Are The Most Progressive 2 Minutes Of TV This Season

Viola Davis How To Get Away With Murder
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Jordin Sparks Wants You To See Her Without Makeup

Jordin Sparks
Slaven Vlasic via Getty Images

How One Artist Is Single-Handedly Changing The Way We See Death Row

Elkins

WATCH
Chris Rock's New Movie Gets A Really Funny Trailer

Top Five Trailer
Paramount

Sheryl Lee Ralph Breaks Down Her 24th Annual 'DIVAS Simply Singing!'

Sheryl Lee Ralph
Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

Iggy Finally Gets An Apology From Snoop Dogg

Iggy Azalea
Gary Miller via Getty Images

PHOTOS
Fly Rudeboys Remind Us What Cool Looks Like

Bevan Agyeman
Dean Chalkley

Nick Cannon Responds To Amber Rose Relationship Rumors

Nick Cannon
Tommaso Boddi via Getty Images

Let Kerry Washington Be Your Guide To 'No Makeup' Makeup

Kerry Washington
Instagram

The Best Worst Answer Ever On 'Family Feud'

Penis
Family Feud

'Real Housewives Of Atlanta' Star Confirms Pending Divorce To Husband

Phaedra Parks
ELLEN

20 Questions With 'For Colored Girls' Star Anika Noni Rose

Comments (52)


Several notable movie critics and mainstream news publications were quick to point out the lack of diversity with film nominees this awards season. One person not biting her tongue is 'For Colored Girls' star Anika Noni Rose.

We sat down with the Tony Award-winning thespian to talk about who she felt deserved to be recognized, how much fun she's been having with her stint on 'The Good Wife,' and why the Bloomfield, Connecticut native just has to get in the studio with Cee Lo Green sometime soon.

Here's 20 Questions with Anika Noni Rose.


BlackVoices.com: We're fast approaching The Oscars and coming off of last year's big wins for 'Precious,' and many film critics and moviegoers, alike, are frustrated that no African Americans were nominated in any categories this year. What are your thoughts on that?
Anika Noni Rose:
I think it's very unfortunate. I think there was some amazing work done by the actors that were nominated but I think that is a very unfortunate and short-sighted situation with regard to actors of color who put in some really wonderful work this year. Not even just black actors, Jimmy Smitts in 'Mother and Child' was beautiful.


BV: Why do you think that actors of color are not being recognized?
ANR:
I think very often our films are not seen in the same way and are not looked at in the same light or looked at in general, to be honest. I think that is really unfortunate because even if you decide that you don't love the film. Is there a performance in there that was mind-blowing to you? Or, was phenomenal to you, or just plain great? I think that it's a very disappointing trend. It's as disappointing as a trend of movies that are put out for people of color. Even that is disappointing to me because it shows just one genre.

BV: Can you elaborate on your feelings about what films are one-note for African Americans?
ANR:
At the risk of insulting somebody, that's not what I want to do by pointing out somebody's particular thing, but we have a few movies coming out right now that are revisiting themes from the 70s when it was not a high-brow moment in filmmaking. Not that everything has to be 'King Lear' or 'Black Orpheus.' I'm just saying, we have the opportunity to tell stories and can have dialect other than Southern or African dialects, we live in many places. We have stories to be told and it doesn't always have to be for a kee-kee good time. We either get gut-wrenching tragedy or a gut-busting comedy. There's very little in between and when it does come out in between – who saw it? It's not marketed and people aren't told about it.

BV: What film or films do you think have been looked over this awards season?
ANR:
I'm just going to mention that movie 'Mother and Child' one more time. I think it is one of the most beautiful movies that came out this past year. Samuel L. Jackson was in it and gave a beautiful performance. He didn't yell, he didn't cuss. People laugh about him yelling and cussing, and only he can do it the way he does it, but he gave a lovely, nuanced performance and no one has heard a word. It was a mixed cast and an American story. It bothers me that we aren't able to tell American stories of what our life is like in America. Do you only have black people in your rolodex? No! I don't know anyone who only has black friends at their birthday party. I'm interested in us being able to tell stories about us. I think it's sad and disturbing that we don't get the opportunity to tell them and when they are made it's not marketed in such a way that the black community or other people want to see it. I don't believe the rest of the world is not interested in the lives that we live because if they weren't there wouldn't be so many white boys running around listening to rap music.


BV: 'For Colored Girls' was certainly an incredible piece and another film that was surprisingly not recognized. How was being a part of that ensemble?
ANR:
I had a great experience filming it. I came away with a lot of really great friendships with these women. It was so amazing to sit in the hair and make-up trailer and talk about our common issues and laugh about stuff and the job that so-and-so got that you didn't. To laugh about it instead of being upset. So often, actors get into that runt but it's so wonderful to be in a room and everybody has a story about someone getting the job that they wanted and letting it be a part of the conversation over a bone of contention. It was great to be able to say that poetry and to speak that poetry into light and in such a way that for me it became something colloquial. It was high art hidden as colloquial speech. You're feeling what Ntozake Shange put on that page within this person's journey. I thought that was brilliantly interweaved.

BV: What do you think the legacy from the movie 'For Colored Girls' should be?
ANR:
I don't like to tell people what they should take away from something. I think it's important for people to see something in a movie that resonates with them. Whether it's something that inspires them to live their life in a different way or something that inspires them to speak to somebody they know or love about the way they are living their life whether good or bad. It is important to realize it is not a man bashing film. It's very unfortunate the men/actors are not extraordinarily vocal. I think people should see them and think, "Thank God I'm not like that, but maybe I need to talk to my nephew or my brother." There was a woman who interviewed me, a white woman from New Jersey, who saw the play and she has never seen anything like this play that moved her. When this movie came out, she took her teenage daughter and said, "You are coming to see this, a story about women and about women's plight."

BV: Aside from the central theme of women and women's plight, what were some of the other take-aways for you?
ANR:
Everybody goes through abusive relationships. Everybody spends time abusing themselves and allowing other people to abuse them. Experiencing date rape -- that is a multi-ethnic journey. There are a lot of things to take from the movie. You may not identify with everything or everyone but you will identify with one.

BV: Most recently, you've been a recurring character on 'The Good Wife.' Why did you decide that you wanted to appear on this television show in particular?
ANR:
I really like this woman. I think she is a very difficult person to figure out. She's extrodrinarily smart. She is a family oriented woman but she is a hard-core politician. She is not going for the okey-doke and she is shaking these men up in the world of Chicago politics which is not a white glove political arena. She is coming in and giving those boys the 'What for?' Interesting enough, I was only supposed to be there for two or three episodes, but they kept writing for me, which I found really exciting. I get to play with some really great actors.

BV: What are your thoughts on playing this type of role in 2011 where we are seeing more women in politics?
ANR:
It's fun and it's a different role than I've played before because this woman is serious business and is coming for you. I like it because it's 2011. This is not a year of pleasantry in the land of politics. It's no longer a year where women are asking for their place. They are coming in and they are taking it and that is a fantastic thing.

BV: Watching some of the things going on in real life politics, do you say to yourself, 'My character is a real accurate portray of female politicians today?'
ANR:
I do. Women aren't asking. Even the women who have no place being in there. They aren't asking. They are just coming in and talking about how they can see Jupiter from their backyard. They aren't asking. They're just taking their place (You know nobody said Jupiter, but you know what I mean). It's not whether they have qualifications or not, they are kicking that door in and coming. I don't think that it's going to stop the visibility of women in politics. I think it will ultimately make way for some women with some real sense and some strong followers. But there are strong followers behind the whooptie-doos too. I want another Barbara Jordan. Hillary Clinton is out there talking to Egypt and being on a world stage in a way that women haven't before and going to places that aren't necessarily looking for a woman to step off the plane.

BV: What are some of the big political issues to you?
ANR:
We're going through a situation in New York where schools are being closed and it's schools that have the most children with special needs. Why are we closing schools in 2011? There was a young woman on TV about 15 and she said, "You know what? It's not our fault that this school is scoring badly and that we are in the lower percentile. Why would you close our school instead of taking the time to fix the problem?" This is a child. That young woman has a future and she wasn't asking anybody, "Excuse me, can I say what I need to say?" She was poised and had grace. She spoke as if she came from a top school. That's what's happening right now. Women need to be in politics because we need to make sure that our children are taken care of.

BV: Another television show we loved you on was 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' with Jill Scott. HBO hasn't announced whether that series will return. Have you heard anything about whether it may be coming back?
ANR:
If it comes back, it won't be coming back as a series. The last I heard, possibly some television movies for HBO. I don't know. It's been two years. I don't hold my breath over anything. When someone comes with a contract, I say, "Hey that's exciting," but until then I can't get excited everytime someone says something might happen. If I did I would burn out. But, I loved that piece.

BV: Are you enjoying your time on television enough that you think you would consider signing up for a television show full-time after your run on 'The Good Wife' ends?
ANR:
I don't know. Those are the types of things that you have to weigh so many other things that are happening at the moment. I'm really trying to continue to forge my way in film. There are some ways that television helps you in that because you are more visible but there are some ways that it dilutes you because you are more visible. I don't know what I am going to do next. I really have enjoyed being there and there is something lovely about being a guest star because those people that are there every day are so tired come Wednesday. They are worked to the bone and having done it myself, it is exhausting. It would have to be the right circumstance. It's a grind doing TV as a regular.

BV: 'The Princess and The Frog' has really left a stamp in the world of Disney. When you sign up for a project you don't necessarily immediately think about the world of marketing but your princess is really lasting. Have you seen the reach of that role first-hand?
ANR:
I have and I see it on our children and I also see it on children who look nothing like Tiana. That does not stop them from seeing themselves within her and I think that is pretty amazing. You're talking about a character who is inspiring little brown girls who have never felt or been told they were princesses, but also inspiring children who look nothing like her to think that she is a woman who is beautiful and smart. Well, I'll be...that's amazing (laughs).

BV: When you signed up for the role, did you ever consider how much Disney would embrace the character?
ANR:
We were a couple years in when someone said, "Can you imagine [all of the merchandise]?" And, I thought, "That's right. This is Disney they don't play around. There are going to be barrettes and band-aids and cookies and sneakers and pins for your Crocs. All with a version of my face on them that little girls will love." I actually got a video from a little boy. He was three and he was bouncing on his bed singing 'All The Stars Up There' and telling his mommy, "She is my favorite princess. I'm going to marry her."

BV: Have you thought about returning to Broadway anytime soon?
ANR:
Once I dedicate myself to the project, that's what I'm doing, but the issue is "What is the project?" It has to be something viable and something that is seen as a real thing. Does it excite me? Is it challenging? All of those things I have to weigh in order to say this is what I want to do, but I definitely want to come back. I miss it and it's my first love. I just don't know when I am going to be back in the saddle. I loved Tennessee Williams and I really loved that piece. I never even thought of doing 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' myself, it just wasn't in my scope of thinking until it came up and I was like, "Really? Absolutely."

BV: Do you have any passion projects?
ANR:
I would like to produce. I would like to produce for my friend Chandra Wilson who is in 'Grey's Anatomy,' and is a really phenomenal talent and there is something that I want for her to do that I would like to research and make happen. I'm the person behind the book on the subway and I'm reading for pleasure and I'm also reading for opportunities for me and the people around me. I was trying to option a book this fall and it fell through. I loved the book so much but I'm not done doing that and I want to create from that level as well.

BV: You've sung in 'Dreamgirls' and also 'The Princess and the Frog,' of course, have you thought about exploring music in the future and recording a full-length album?
ANR
: I would love to record. It hasn't really presented itself or maybe I haven't just looked for it because I have been doing so much acting that I haven't been searching to record. I would love to record with Cee Lo [Green].

BV: Really? Cee Lo Green?
ANR:
I'm such a huge fan of his and have been for a long time. I just enjoy him. I love the way he blows. He sings his butt off but he's also laughing in the middle of his singing. There's always a joke and there's tongue and cheek somehow. I love the theatricality of what he produces. Loved the 'F** You' and still wishing I could rock a t-shirt. I loved 'Crazy,' I thought, "How brilliant" and I rocked it way past the time it was supposed to be rocked. I think he has a very unique sound and the way that he attacks music is unique. He thrills me.

BV: What kind of music would you put out?
ANR:
I would love to do a Christmas album. I've been thinking about that for years. I love Christmas music. It just makes me happy. But, I [just did] a concert in New York at Lincoln Center. It's all of that old stuff and vintage voices like Dinah Washington that inspires me. Then, I love Cee Lo. It could be anything and I think that's one thing that has kept me from pursuing it. I don't have a niche that I want to attack. I just want to do it. I probably need someone to say, "Ok, Anika this is where we are going to start," and I will just say, "Ok."

'For Colored Girls' is now availble on home video formats.

Comments: (52)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 6

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."