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Nia Long Talks Producing, Motherhood, New Film ‘The Banker’ + More

Nia Long Talks Producing, Motherhood, New Film ‘The Banker’ + More
Breakfast Club morning everybody is DJ envy Angela ye Charlemagne the guy we are the Breakfast Club you have a special guest in the bill and the building the obviously the beautiful she had that effect then you got your own day in New York from the mayor also oh my you guys I cried about that for like a week yeah congratulations that was like the biggest honor and I was so I was blown away honestly cuz you don't expect my own 27 yeah you feel the pressure to have to do something on that day now like in New York like an event come here every year on that day and talk to you that's how are you I'm okay I lost my father and oh thank you he was a great man and it's it's it's amazing I learned

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about him by being in Trenton you in treta New Jersey for a week just putting the whole thing together than I ever knew mmm because you you know like I'm an adult my life is in California he was in Trenton and he was such an icon in the community and did so much for so many of those kids living down there so I was I was really proud of him he was a poet right he's a poet yeah he's a poet a writer photographer like a real just a Renaissance man love jazz music and good food and he was really like the red state and Liv Jones but older they get a bad rap they do and I got to tell you something like I've been going back and forth a lot as a young woman as a you know being a mom being a before I was a mom and I've seen the city grow and change and...
nia long talks producing motherhood new film the banker more
I think there's there's the first of all there's an amazing group of artists that live there so they're doing spoken word they're musicians they're singers they're educating themselves I think the city every city has its problems but because Trenton is so small it's magnified you know but I felt the school Trenton high school did a beautiful tribute to my father and they did spoken word and all the kids some of his past students came I could not stop crying I was just like this is amazing because sometimes what a person can't do for their own children they do for the world and I'm okay with that if that meant that I had to share him oh I think that's because uh you know parents they learn

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they as they grow so when it was raising I was thinking about that I was thinking I said mommy I looked at my mother during the service I said mommy you were 22 years old when you had me right now today anything I forgive you for everything cuz I could've done it at 22 22 I was in the club with puff and heavy and all the guy like we were in the club back then so I spent a heavy conversation with my therapist the past couple weeks what's that that whole conversation about forgiving you your parents well my father in particular because the only to do the best that they could because they didn't know any better when they were younger you have to really do it for yourself it's if you do if you commit that healing to with yourself...
nia long talks producing motherhood new film the banker more
it will honestly change the way you experience your own life because I think for a lot of years I was I was disappointed and angry and I wanted you know my dad to like read me a bedtime story and be there and do all of the things that a daddy is supposed to do and I think my father had a very old-school way of approaching life because black people are raised to survive that's right and my mother and my grandmother coming from the islands they had a different philosophy so had my parents stayed together I may have still been an actress but I don't think it would have happened as quickly as it did in my life and I don't think I would have been a part of you know the era that really helped to define black cinema and so I when I look at my life and I'm gonna be fifty you guys upgrade to turn black don't crack Wow I can't believe it but my point is is when you get to this age it's a beautiful time in my life because I can actually put everything into perspective and now it all makes sense and I feel

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free and alive and I have in the last ten years because I have understanding and I've forgiven myself for not forgiving people sooner in my own life for forgiving my father for things that he was unable to do and it's a good thing to do no we have the luxury of healing no this generation like this nation have the luxury of healing the fact that you just said I've taught spoken to my therapist about certain things black people were not saying...
nia long talks producing motherhood new film the banker more
that 15 20 years ago we were like we didn't because because there was this you know the idea was if you go to therapy there's something really wrong with you but reality that you're crazy and the reality is is we have so much information coming at us 24/7 with our phones right with the world with a crazy president with you know all the things that are happening you need to be able to sit down and organize your life and your thoughts that's right and if you don't do that you will be in a constant state of things you have yeah well you have a lot of amazing things happening first of all and before we get into the

banker

you are

producing

now too I did I just produced my first

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congratulations on that so when do we get to see that it's called fatal affair it's on Netflix and it's with omar epps i think it's coming out in July wow so that's what I'm hearing yeah it'll be straight for streaming it's not a theatrical release I love Netflix though I hate you I know that's two pillars of 90s black cinema and that's why I cast him I said marv it's been a minute since we've worked together he's such a good actor but most importantly I wanted to work with my friends right I wanted to work with people that I love and respect and nothing against the new generation of actors because there are some beautiful talented people that are taking the lead right now and I am extremely proud of them but in this situation I...
knew that the audience for this

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was going to be somewhere between 30 and above so I wanted to give them something that they were familiar with from their childhood or from their younger years no I meant to ask go back to your dad I just had a question you know what you have two children yes do you do anything different then what your dad did with you because my dad was a police officer he was very protective well my kids I try not to be as protective because I hated it right is there anything that you doing say you know what I make sure I do this because I don't want a parent like them I kind of like that is there anything I have to be honest with you my mother was probably thank God I was born like a decent human being because my mom was very hands-off what I think well so okay so so I was born in Brooklyn right I I lived in Iowa City for six years and that's when I was super young then we moved to LA to South Central LA and then every summer I'd come back and be with my grandparents in Brooklyn so I had an interesting childhood because Iowa was like I mean we were the only black people there mm-hmm but my mother wore her afro I had my afro we were I mean I was rate she was a hippie really but she was very free and it was the two of us and remember she was 22 so we were like best friends my parents divorced when I was super young again my father's idea of success for me was a job get a job well really it was go to college get your degree if you want to...
be an actress go get a job as a waitress and then see how that works out for you right and I was like I'm doing it that way I don't need to go to college to do what I want to do so I went I did a little bit and then and then I started working because I can that was during the time where there was you know a handful of brown girls really working and I got lucky and blessed and it happened for me so the way I raised my boys I'm super honest probably too honest my son my older son my 19 year old and I talk about everything I mean the nitty gritty down he's dating now and all that oh my god I was like yeah he was a late bloomer so he didn't he was a late bloomer mine was a late bloomer like he didn't really like he was a late bloomer he was respectful of women he kind of you know and then my little you said was so that now he's out here D comfortable telling mom everything now maybe just told you some things I mean I know I know

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than I want to know and I'm okay with that but but here's what I'm the mo I'm most proud of he's a good dude right I trust him I trust him with his brother I trust him with the way that he treats other people I trust you know where we are now is it's interesting because we're in a bit of a tug of war because he wants to be his own man and he's in college and he's on his way and he plays baseball and he's handsome and smart and all of the things but I'm like dude you're not...
paying any bills yet so there's a fine line between mom you don't know what you're talking about in we're gonna do it this way absolutely so I try to give and take because I want him to make those mistakes so that he can learn who he is right what are you a son didn't like watching your movies right I'm have you saying that last time it was it changed well the little one is just like why are you gone all the time like dude what and I'm not gonna lie but he's so he's under his mom he he is like my baby baby and he's he's I have to make deals with him like lot yesterday we had to go to the movies so he'd be okay with me coming to New York today cuz we were informal that's fine but you do have this movie the

banker

yeah yeah and so this is based on a true story right Bernard Garrett he's a businessman but this is in the 60s and back then their 40's to the sixties so basically the whole civil rights era right so at first he was trying to do real estate but that's hard when you're a black person back then especially trying to buy into the real estate market as hard as a black person now it's hard yeah but it imagine what it was like rent and be I could even imagine and redlining so we were basically cast out of the process period and not allowed to get loans and so these two men came into the game and really changed helped to change the laws so that black people could get loans and that we could buy property...
and we could start investing into our own communities and they have to actually get a white person to be the front of their business yes they did play by Nicholas Hoult and so he was a you know or everyday kind of around the way kind of white guy middle class and they used him as the frontman to trick the bank's into selling the banks to them and eventually it implodes but it's a fun ride and it's a great history lesson and I think what we have to start we need to start having the conversations about rich versus wealth I think you need to have a rich spirit but you should strive to be wealthy because wealth is generational absolutely and we I think as black people we're so used to being satisfied with just getting the new pair of sneakers or getting a nice car or getting that you know that record deal or that job that we think we want and it's it's not our fault because again we were raised to survive right not to be not to drive not to thrive and so we have to recondition the way that we're thinking about our place in the world because at the end of the day we I believe the heart and soul of culture 100 we control to cool all of it so if we're controlling that why are we not controlling the money because we're creating the avenue to make the money mm-hmm right so and I'm guilty of it too I'll go buy a Chanel bag instead of you know but then I'm like but I need both as

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as you know you can invest in the things you need to...
invest in and you can treat yourself I think there's nothing wrong with right I got a pair of all this and I had this left over and a lot and I'm good I can buy myself a bag right mm-hmm but all the time we would never talk we would never talk and I think this generation and our kids yeah I think it a change because like you said I was the first person in my family to go to college right my parents you work thirty years you retire and that's it there was no generation or anything but now we're starting to change that we're starting to learn about real estate we're starting to learn about entrepreneurship we're starting to learn about these things I think it had changed this next generation we're getting new tools new resources everything everything we talking about from therapy to real estate all of that stuff is new tools with resources with fathom oh and there's also a wider lane to find success like you know we can be all things now and I think one of the things I love about Jay and Beyonce is they are really standing at the forefront and showing young men and women how to do it especially J cuz Jays involved in a lot of business I mean Beyonce is our queen we love her but I love Jay and I think that if he can continue to move in the way that he is and still put out records and still be on stage than you were capturing a whole community of people aging from you know very young to to adulthood and I think that's important that we have...
those heroes in as a black man like the greatest thing about jazz is growth and evolution to watch that over the years shows all of us like it's okay to grow so Cato whoa that's right and it's okay to be the dude that had to do what you had to do on the corner but you ain't got to stay there that's right that's right you don't promote it and you promote it how draining was the bank at all because when you do a movie like that you realize things aren't really different in 2020 I will tell you that it was not an easy shoot mostly because we didn't have a lot of money to make the movie to begin with it rained when it wasn't supposed to and when it was supposed to it didn't you know here's the thing when you're making a

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about history an important history and there are very few

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s out there where we get to see black people in a heroic position changing history you want to get it right right and so obviously I'm depending on my director george nolfi who was fantastic and and gave us so much room to be whatever we thought we needed to be in the role and Samuel Jackson who I freaking love him right in Anthony Mackie I play Anthony Mackey's wife we had a good time but there was just an underlying an underlying feeling of intensity because we knew that we had a social responsibility to educate and take people on a journey so it wasn't it wasn't like shooting you know the best man or Friday it was a little...
different and it was I'm sure educational for you like things that you learn while you were

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ing for sure and this was supposed to be the first movie on Apple TV plus also write the first it well it was then we had a little bit of a hiccup right I mean listen that has nothing to do with the movie and I'm glad that we got a new release date and we I'm very sensitive to women and what women go through and I don't think any woman should be violated but I'm just glad that Apple has sort of regrouped and given us a platform to release the

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because I think it's an important

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they don't know what's an important thing that was a weird reason not to put the movie out it's not like anybody that was in the movie did something you know I mean I know I agree with you it's almost like they don't want that story to be told like let's not put this out you - by black people that have felt like oh well women had a reason to feel away when they see somebody glorified that was not glorifying to them for what they allegedly went through because well here's the thing Bernard Garrett had two wives he had the wife that I play Eunice his wife his first wife and he had a white wife so I think the story that we told was about his experience with Eunice and the woman who came forward was from a second marriage so I don't know anything about it I can't say yay or nay but I do I mean I think Apple had to go through the process of is...
like what is there something that we don't know that's gonna come in and shut us down right but I also think there is you know you don't need to be too careful hmm be careful and respectful but don't be too careful and kill the project that we so need to see and you know it's unfortunate because it took us out of the the Oscar race for this past Oscars but it doesn't mean we can't be in the mix for next year yeah there was just a buzz there was a build and then it was like oh my god I got my dress and I got all my thing and then up but very birth of a nation what is that burp of a nation is inspired a lot of black people I don't know just felt that way yeah I think also too we are sadly we don't get to see a lot of

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s or we are the hero yes and I think that and so when you have that one project and it gets like a start-stop you automatically go to wait is this personal or is this justified and I think black people respond to that across the board in that way but they did get over the hump and so then we got is a half we're coming out March the six March 6 and that's great so what are some of the things that you learned that you didn't know before Phil - the

banker

um well I didn't know of the two men Joe Wilson and Bernard Garrett I had no idea I didn't know their story at all like a hidden figure situation I learn about it makes you even

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proud for sure so I I really was not aware of the two men but I was aware...
of redlining and sort of the social social history of that time but I will tell you like my my my dad has a house in Trenton that my grandmother bought many years ago mhm and my grandmother's mother was one generation away from slavery so you know that house was like striking goal for that for my family everything for them everything like every every everything and we had to put the house on the market and I called the real estate agent and I said black woman and I said I want you to be very aware of who we sell this house to because this is Trenton and you can get a nice house for about $85,000 which sounds like nothing but for that for that neighborhood and for those hard-working people that live in Trenton that's a lot of money everything for the right that's everything I said so please be conscious of who you sell this house to and she said well you know that's illegal I said I don't give a we're gonna do the right thing by our community because I'm not down for gentrification if it doesn't serve the community yeah gentrification is not a problem is the displacement that's right it's the displacement that's right and so she I don't know that she likes me I'm sure she doesn't but I will have to listen well not after you know but I I look I'm I am militant in my own little way and I really try to push things forward and and stand strong in my beliefs because I do understand that we are the generation that actually...
is pushing certain things forward because we are connected to the Freedom Fighters we are connected to the the you know the the leaders of the civil rights movement that's that's us you're the closest thing to it watching the

banker

one of the hardest things must be for the character bernard garrett to actually have to still be so respectful when people were being so disrespectful to him just imagine having a bite your tongue when people are being blatantly racist and doing illegal things to you just because of the color of your skin yeah and he still had to be like yes sir i'm sorry sir no one looked down it was funny there's one scene in the movie where i have this conversation with nicholas hoult and in the

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i'm basically saying to the nicholas hoult character i'm like you don't understand all of this because you're not black and I wanted to be fiery with it I wanted to like give it to him not in the same way that you would and say Taye Diggs and you see yeah no not that not that and not even the Roxanne Roxanne but somewhere in the middle and the director kept saying no she wasn't that kind of woman she was

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reserved she was she was a lot

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selective with her words and it's to your point she did her pushing in silent it was their pillow talk you know so with her husband at home she would be aggressive and pushy and honey no we can do this we can be a part of this movement just keep moving forward but in front of...
others and especially a white man she would choose her words carefully and that was hard for me to play because I wasn't of that generation so I had to kind of rewire my way of thinking and go okay well if I were living during this time knowing that the world around me was not in favor of the color of my skin then how would I actually have these very deep convert it was almost very passive-aggressive that's kind of how people operated like no one was that direct unless you were a civil rights leader but I'm talking day-to-day conversations amped-up around your own people but you get in front of white people you all die sighs but you have to understand like there's one scene where the police come but that was yeah I period in time where you could get killed or something take like it was one period with the police officers come he owns the property and they're like this woman called and said you are acting as if you're owning the owning and he has to pull out the paperwork and show it but that could have went totally left if he said what he wanted to say right but we still act like that now it's like we still have that trauma we whispers she's a pain in the ass I mean I like white people I don't have a problem with them but we got to still be us at all times but I will always be my authentic self in the moment and I will always speak up for what I believe in and I will always give my opinion if I think it's necessary and I don't I...
will say no and especially in this business what you said is important sometimes you have to remind them you don't know what the hell you're talking about cuz you're not black period however the experience for you

producing

for the first time what was that like for you being on the other side I like what you said yeah I cast it Omar oh did I say it like I've seen you talking about how you see all these white men getting rich off of movies that your yeah and now look at you

producing

is that the inspiration for that and what was it like being on the other side I'll tell you sometimes you can get a producer credit and it's really just for the look the look but this one I really I really did the work and it was it was difficult at times because I'm a very visual person so I kind of see the whole thing in my head before it happens and when the PERT not everybody you know no one can be in my mind I obviously and read my mind but I was very specific and deliberate about certain things and and to your point the crew was white the director was white the producer was white and they were lovely because they allowed me to correct things that needed to be corrected hmm but it's still frustrating that you have to over explain yourself in this business to this day that's tough because I kept I kept feeling like I needed to apologize for wanting to change something but why am i apologizing right you trying to make us the best movie you possibly can make...
it it benefits everybody and that's also being a woman in a position of power where there's all men around you I was literally like they were literally like three women on that set there's a lot that still has to change there's a lot that still has to change and I never back down I was like nope you need to change that nope don't like that angle nope move the camera nope you see that a lot like if you know if that's the guy then they'll say that guy's being a boss but if it's a woman has a history of Divo behavior because when I started in this business you weren't supposed to say anything except thank you and I was like thank you but and I didn't it I wasn't even aware I was just being myself honestly I wasn't there wasn't ever like a I I just don't think that you need to behave in any situation I think you need to grow and learn mmm I'm not gonna be I'll behave behave no that's that's sort of the the expectation is that you're supposed to be happy to be here do the work keep it simple do what we asked you to do and then go home and I never got into this business with that mind and when and honestly like when I did Alfie with Jude Law that was the best experience of my life because the actors were given the floor to talk and create and move things around and you know well I don't feel this really works from like so there's a difference even in the production mmm when it's a black

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...
versus a white

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do you feel your evolution as a woman is shown to you cactus mm-hmm I do not in not in rocks and rocks and I don't know that lady she's not a part of me I do know that lady but you know what I'm saying like I don't but I had to know that woman and have some experience like we live right down the street from the projects when I lived in Brooklyn to understand how to play her right I did think so I mean I'd like to do

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I'd like to have

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diversity in my portfolio and play different roles have you played you haven't played your dream role yet right I don't think so I think it's also like the body of work is is what makes me proud right such an impact to this day and age thank you it's like yeah the body of work is like okay I'm and I'm still doing it mm-hmm huh you know like to be had to have a

long

career as an artist is every but after every job I'm like and it never is no got a lot in the pipeline yeah do you tell a young actress right now that's watching this and you know and wishing to be you one day or like you one day you know yeah how did you pick your roles how did you go about saying this one is good for me this one might not work for me what do you tell a young actress authenticity don't change based on what you see change based on what you know you need to do to better yourself because I think a lot of times young artists come and they steal a little bit of this and they steal a...
little bit of that but if you really start from your authentic self the all the embellishments will come through your experiences and that's what creates and grows the like when I see when we did love Jones everyone was like oh my god this is like the modern-day mahogany and I was like okay but that isn't that what art is you you take from the past and you recreate it and you are to be inspired by the thing that came before you and the thing that's in front of you so when I see I want to go see the photograph yes all my friends are like it's it's it reminds you of love Jones but it's so different from love Jones but the look of it and I really like the director's Stella yes she was the writer she said she actually said love Jones was the inspiration for the

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I didn't know that she's Jamaican so she's a little island gas monkey yeah yeah I really like her I'm looking forward to seeing that

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but my point is to be a part of seeing like watching mahogany and being a part of love Jones and now seeing the photograph all young artists need to take a step back and look at what came before them learn from that suck that in be who they are in the moment and then recreate but not imitate imitate what do you think was different about blacks than them in the 90 though that's lacking now because it black

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s don't have that feeling I'm sorry it just they just don't there's no boys in the hood there's no love...
Jonesy they don't have that same energy I know I don't know and I and I have a hard time watching things because I'm like wait a minute why did they do that or but the lighting or the thing I think one of the things is we were using real

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now everything is digital digital so the quality is different mmm everything has to count - this is so expensive every house they redo oh well and so and with

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you had to light it so there was a DP actually lighting you not this one big light that lights everything and then they go in the computer and adjust it so I I am if I look on the monitor I'm like you need to fix that right now no no we're host like no no no no we're gonna fix it right now because I'm not gonna be in post and I want to see what I look like and it's not because I'm vain it's because if I don't have light in my eyes I can't perform because well because some people speak with their eyes right some people have bigger eyes so they don't need the light in their eyes but I have very almond shaped eyes so you don't light my eyes you don't see what I'm doing the emotion of yeah like I don't I think I think your eyes tell a story yeah as

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as to go to I've seen some visually stunning

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s that still will whack though I guess we can say this now I didn't like Queensland I didn't see it I should be ashamed of myself but I was actually really dealing with my dad during that time and I was...
like I can't even I want to see it I think people had mixed reviews visually stunning I just did everything like the story so I understand what you're saying about lighting and stuff but it's two stories boys in the hood was a great story love John was a great story minister society was a great story the story's just be whack man look here's the thing to create art you don't need to be slick don't don't be slip the damn story you don't need to go oh what if we do this no because there's only what do they say for stories to be told over a tragedy yes it doesn't have to be that difficult yeah I hear what you're saying that's gonna make it don't make no sense like weighted slim the woman is an attorney a defense attorney you get shot at by can you tell you see and see and you're always right well we and is your only play well cuz it's like we tweet cuz because here's what I think we struggle with we struggle with wanting black people in

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to look professional to have jobs to be educated but then you still want to tell the hood tale so like be true to who they are and it's not that you can't be both because I'm Bo I would be like in a second but I'm also a lady I know how do you know it's all those things but I think to your point if I don't know if the character is a turd I didn't see the movie so it's hard for me to comment on this but if the character is an attorney and then...
what happens you got shot by a cop and it was her I did let's go on the right like you don't have nobody at the law firm you can call a shot the cop no she got shot and then that's when the dude grab the gun and ended up shooting I didn't see it myself oh my god well with that said whose stories can have that Shakespearean feel you can't tell me boys in the hood wasn't a tragedy absolutely absolutely but you but but so you have to have well-developed dynamic characters if you don't start from that then the story is not going to be great mm-hmm and I think I don't know I don't know like I think you know when you have a person like John Singleton rest his soul and when he died that broke my heart like really broke my heart because he discovered me he started he created a lane for people to even care about my name and so losing him and then losing my father and I was a Cod like oh and they were kind of like the same kind of dude you know I don't know that they make them like that any

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mm-hmm I don't know that they make men that are so aware of the black struggle so savvy to make change and then make art I don't know that my son mmm will be able to have all of those things because many generations away from it so like we have to do our work as parents but that's I think it's one person right now that's making that black activism through art at that level how's that Ava Duvernay yeah it was it was the one she's...
making that John Singleton level black activist with to art no no I agree with you I think she's a beautiful

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maker and I also think it's nice to see a woman's perspective because there's a softness about all of her

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s that I appreciate and I think we're in a in a place right now where women just have this Lane to be fantastic and to be heard and to to do it our way and not have to conform or make ourselves small and it's because of her so you know I don't mean I think it's I think art is always changing I think I worry about this generation because I don't think they paid give any respect to the people have paved the way for them and when I say this generation I'm talking like 20 year olds they don't they just don't have any concept maybe they're just young I don't know it's not so a lot easier how they can get into their contour and you can be a star now so what does that tell you as some followers mr. grandfather you need followers yes stop you are a star so you got to produce

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and I will as well has to go back however I will thank you that was a beautiful interview appreciate my thanks that's right the

banker

is March 6 in theaters yes and then an Apple TV plus is it after it's imperative after and I'm gonna look up the date free right okay the 20th okay you see they changed the date on us-soviet I was that make sure you're given the right date the 20th on appletv + wellness The...
Breakfast Club is Miss Nia

Long