Remember those days when good quality black films that hit the theater were hard to come by. Those days are gone!
Last year, was a good year for black actor and actresses in Hollywood as they starred in acclaimed films and racked up numerous award nominations. Just in time for Black History month, Essence magazine is highlighting some of the African American veterans and rookies who are out here making #NewRules.
Sharing the cover of the March 2014 issue are “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Fruitvale Station” actor Michael B. Jordan, and from “The Butler,” Forest Whitaker and his co-star (and only female) Oprah Winfrey.
In this special collector’s issue, each of the actors talk about their art and the showstopping roles that had black cinema at the center of attention in 2013.
Catch the highlights:
Oprah on her acting coach telling her to be more sexy in “The Butler”
“I don’t think of myself as being sexy and I’m not even sure how one is sexy,” she admits. Her acting coach instructed her: “Every time Gloria walks, pretend that she has a tail. And when Gloria sits down, she doesn’t sit without making sure there’s room for her tail.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor on how it took two months to come out of the ’12 Years a Slave” role
“[It was a] fine line in between sanity and insanity.[...]Even though there were emotional moments to shoot, overall I think every member of the cast and crew was there for one reason: They felt it was a tale that deserved to be told.”
In their behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot, Oprah and Michael also shared their thoughts on being on the silver screen and the art of shaping their craft.
Oprah on growing up wanting to see black people portrayed as normal people in film
One of the things that has always been frustrating to me all those years I was doing “The Oprah [Winfrey] Show” is that I would get criticism from black people in particular because they would think there was only one way to be black. There isn’t just one story. There’s many stories as there are us.
I always just wanted when I was growing up, just to see stories and movies with black people where we were just normal people because that’s what people do in their real lives. We make meals for each other. We have parties. We play cards. You come over to my house. We have these conversations. We get into arguments. We call each other names. We forgive each other. It’s just about life. I think the more that we can tell stories that normalize and actualize the African American experience, that’s really is how you break down the barriers of racism.
Michael on being the newcomer in the game
It’s so much out of your control, and that’s not why we do what we do. Concentrate on the word. That’s what it should be about. Being in some great company like Forest Whitaker, it’s kinda cool. I’m like the rookie in a locker room full of veterans.
Lady O has the same 24 hours as we do. I need the tea on how she is able to interview celebrities, run a network, run a magazine that she covers every single month, and still have time to dedicate herself to her role in “The Butler.” She def has a superwoman cape in her closet –not to mention an amazing team!