Read full interview February Issue : https://www.nish.press/nish-february-publication/
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Stay tuned for the interview!
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One of the most challenging, rewarding, fun and exhilarating experiences thus far in a variety of memorable experiences I’ve been blessed to be a part of. This show, cast and crew made it so much fun and got me through any anxiety and insecurities I had taking on the iconic role of Betty ‘Rizzo’ – and the first black woman or woman of color to play her. The toughest part was being away from my daughter and son at the time who were both school age causing me to exit the play after 3 months, both Arie and Lauren were brought out to see me and spend break time and once they returned home, it was just too hard for me to be without them. I’ve always felt bad as if I let everyone who believed in me down especially ..but my children have always come first. Since that time I did audition for a few other shows including Aida and The Color Purple (Shug Avery).
Trying to learn the hand jive and prom dance sequence almost caused me to drop out of Grease! ..I’ve never been good at learning choreography. Rewinding back I can still recall weeping in a dance rehearsal at the thought of not being able to do the role after working with acting coach and working so hard to nail the dialogue and nuance of Betty Rizzo. The choreographer and director never gave up on me. On opening night once I made it through that scene – I was good to go. Ask me to do hand jive or any of the choreography now..it’s a blank but when it was time, totally living in that moment. Life.
The role of ‘Teen Angel” while I was in the show initially was Chubby Checker (I first met him as a teen Soul Train dancer on the Jerry Lewis Tele-thon when they wanted to place dancers behind him for the show -funny story I’ll save for my memoir but one of those – you never know how your paths can cross with people down the line, so be kind. I never mentioned to him that we’d crossed paths way back when..) and then jazz great Al Jarreau who was the first person to tell me about zinc lozenges when I thought I might be coming down with a bit of a cold and hoarseness. Blessings.
I filmed these will at sea back in February. The sound of the ocean, an unfettered sky are very calming and feel appropriate to re-share during this time along with a few of my favorite inspirational ocean quotes.
“Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still — rough or rigid, but in the end it’s always beautiful.”
“Dream higher than the sky and deeper than the ocean.”
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Stay home. Stay Safe. Keep the faith.
Nothing like the live experience with everyone together as one in the music.:::
ALL of my upcoming shows have been cancelled or postponed, no bookings being accepted until further notice – health and wellness are of utmost importance during this pandemic.
Love, good health and positive vibes to all until we see each other again in the live setting. I’ll be writing more, reading more books I’ve been wanting to get to working on projects (Spring EP is done and being mixed..working on Summer w new collaboration with The APX), listening to lots of music, still getting my cardio and workouts at home and hopefully a maintain a healthy lifestyle. What else? Definitely watch some NBA classics, documentaries, continue learning about business, maybe binge watch shows I’ve never seen only heard about .. doing more things I enjoy around the house, maybe I’ll finish my memoir too, get my sketch book out, take more naps and rest …times like these remind us not to take things for granted, that’s why living in the moment is always important, especially when you’re having a good time, things can change in an instant.
Already a longtime self-isolator so that part won’t be hard. I’ll continue posting and staying connected with you each day.
The impact will be strong for many musicians, independent contractors workers of all types ,families, young students and so on – here’s to all of you making it through ok too.
Ps..stop buying up all the TP (lol) keep a sense of humor.. don’t lose sight of kindness when you’re in the stores stocking up on food and necessities, stay diligent but calm.. and please don’t forget the elderly, donate to programs that will continue to provide for children who may not have food now that there is no school at the moment..
—Always find the light through the darkness. Wattage!
The Howard Theatre
Photography: Emily Rems
IN The Music – Wattage!!
At sea for a few days and made sure to take in the natural sounds of the ocean as often as I could. I even slept with my cabin door open to hear it at night while going to sleep – no need for the app when I had the authentic thing!
It was a must as well to appreciate the unspoiled sunrise and sunsets. Wherever you are it’s important to take a moment of pause. Breathe in – deep breaths out a few times a day.
Set a reminder in your phone if you need to.
Find your calm when you need it.
“A calm mind brings inner strength and a self confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama