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Margaret Avery


Welcome to strong lack legends the show where we give flowers to the legends of film and television, brought to you by Netflix in strong Blackley. I am your host pre source award winning checks Clayton as the deep cut for so meal. I know Google it. It's worth it. Yeah. Ready? No. It's Hammett is I know you know about Margaret Avery. But what you know about Margaret Avery that I gravitated when I read it was like to me, I felt should, but I really thought they knew Sealy. So that's showed me that people's see you differently than you see yourself. Uh-huh. So I would like to begin this episode with a story, if I may this is a true story that I've actually lived through so travel with me, if you will back to the nine nine in the two thousand came, I into my oldest lead girlfriends right are freshmen at the smallest white school that you've never heard of, which is where we all met. Right. Is black history month. And of course if anybody's going to was not black on a campus with only three black people black, people are probably going to do it. So we decided that we would do something fun, right. Because we knew that we need a cultural is breaker. There are people on this campus who had never met a black person in real life before, like, really. And so, like, you know, movies are common language that we have, so will do a movie night, once a week in black history month. And we'll just share a movie that we love as black people. Right. One of the films that we all instantly say we have to show was. The color, purple and our so excited, first of all purpose my favorite colored. But also, the color purple is one of my favorite movies is one of everybody's favorite movies that I know. So I'm like, we gotta do the color, purple Justice. I stayed up. I don't know how image computer lab, making fliers O'Meara soft word because it's all I had I was the English major is new how to do. And so, then I was like, okay this is how we're gonna get the whites in here in these seats because they love. Good graphic design, right? Right. Got him in there. So we pay for the whole campus with these beautiful grade a flyers made by yours truly, we are in the dorms and mcchord yards just trees everywhere. So the day gets here, right? Is a Saul racism and shared this movie, our favorite movie with our campus mates. And nobody shows up except for the people who planned it. Well, well, well, wow. But honestly, that was actually a blessing in disguise, because I think that's what we all needed at that point, especially as black women because being the only fly in the buttermilk is always hard. But especially when you're eighteen so we really needed, like a safe space, just the feeling of watching a familiar movie with people who understood what I was seeing base all at the same way it felt like your favorite blanket, or like your favorite comfort food, because like this is one of those movies that becomes an event that friends and family brings us to today's guest, who is the one and only Margaret Avery EPA should Avery aka who I wanna be when I grow up, aka a who I need to be when I grow up, Margaret Avery has an amazing resume. And I'm talking about like hit after hit after hit including, but not limited to hell. Up in Harlem, the return of Superfly white man's burden. Welcome home Roscoe jeans, meet the Browns Sanford Insein Miami, vice Jackson's in American dream talked about that one before single, ladies and being married. Jane among others, a hope that you enjoy this conversation. I can't do. We have a seat get comfy. Join me. I love your read. Thank you. Love your yellow and your yearly. My might sing like a canary. I'm right. Joined very. So I would actually love to start by talking about the roles that you've played. But I'm really curious like what is a role that you have not played yet that you're dying to play this, you would just love to get into like to play the corporate woman that's just really a, a real b. Now, do you connection to 'cause I'm always the sweet person, you know, and in actuality, the people who are the sweetest really play the best villains really? And the people that you think sweet. Uh-huh. But I mean. People who play those villains. I mean really I mean there is a toll transfiguration and I would love to do that. Why, why do you think that is why does we people make the best be works? I don't know the same thing as they say that real gay people can't play gay. I've never heard that before. I've heard it. But interesting, you know, that's generally, but any maybe it's not I'm not saying everyone. Right, right, right. But just as far as what I would like to play, you know, and I do this on stage because I don't get to do it in film, every whenever you get in, you know, the word pigeonholed, once you get pigeonholed known for something they just keep they meaning the networks and wanna be safe and try this and I love comedy. I started out doing comedy, stand us. Yes. No not standing up and working with Richard Pryor. I was into comedy and, and that's improvisational. It's like him you just have to go with it, but once colored purple came out, forget, it really all restaurant. Tom. Tom because every time there's a series that comes up that for comedy, they go with who's safe who's done it before right buddy wants to take a chance. So have you considered writing your own role? You know, I don't write does you right. I mean I'm just finished out there. Hey, let's do that. So you're gonna play a real be in the future. The love to. Yes. In the past. You've played, especially pre color purple, you have a bunch of different patients him. Yes, ma'am, let's talk about those so you were in cool breeze, which is a blaxploitation remake of the asphalt jungle. And recently admin thinking about exploitation a lot for two reasons. One there's this amazing hilarious movie called black might have you seen it? No shit watch. It's a spoof of the blaxploitation movies. But like in a way that recent one or it came out with him like the last ten years. Okay. So it's not the real young. Seem right. We did everything in one take because that was the budget as hashers as, actors, we prayed that there would be some kind of a lighting problem or found. We could do, so we could do it again. But because we were most of us were trained actors from stage so we could do it in one take. But that helped me when I finally got a break and went into television because television moved so episodic TV you know, you didn't get much direction other than okay on this line, moved here and say this line over here, and that was about it. So I'm very interested now to see like, what was other differences between being on the set of a blaxploitation movie and being set of something evil which he did with the guiding Steven Spielberg? I think. Yes. Davis difference. Good food. Wow. Feeding now always tell started doing commercials. You could really tell okay what's the classy commercial. And what's not what they had to give you the eat good angry. I would like to a fourth I'm like, will hell up in Harlem Kyla greens, cornbread. No. No, I don't know. But, you know, it was the white folks that were feeding us because it weren't many blacks in the unions to do these different things. Okay. Remember this is like thirty five forty years. Okay. So you had to eat their cooking. I think this is my favorite story about why representation in every part of the world is important, like even in, like the, the unions like how somebody who could cook the right food. You know, like the Brown, people everywhere, the difference between blaxploitation in something evil will something evil lose television. And so we are good food. And it was a very small part. But I was I was just really kinda just starting out wide to be working, and it was the first time sounding like a white girl, worked for me in singing, I think it was done. Dun, Dun, Dun, Dun, Dun down. I was the as I'm in a sound in a music studio. And somebody says, I think they can use sound a little more black. They say that or something. Yeah. Yeah. I've heard. But when I interviewed when he interviewed me for. Color purple. I reminded him. I said, you know, I've worked for you before years ago, something evil. And he says, is that right? And the next interview I had with him for, for color, purple eat, don't, don't ever lie to a direct. Anybody? He went home pulled out fed. Did he feel in the next interview need says you're right? That is good to know. So those resumes. Yes. Hips? So is direction was very sp- specific. And that was the difference, really with, with working with him that he's a director that I got to know him as a director who really appreciates and understands actors, I'm sure he's gone to New York many, many times, just to see theater and what I loved about working with him. It said he knows exactly what he wants and enduring color purple. I knew I could trust him because he would go up to one of the actors that was actually shooting scene, and with for something in their ear and the very next tape just like that it was magic when source of things like the ever come in whispered. I remember him saying do member when you were a kid, and you walked into a candy store for the first time you know and, and I guess it worked. You know, but that I loved about him today. I wish I wish directors would study acting so they would understand the process because the networks now they expect you to do everything just like that overnight. I mean we used to get an episodic television script three four days before now it's like I'm getting an Email from my Asian at seven o'clock at night for eleven o'clock more meeting the next morning, they wanted have it or they want you to have it memorize. So as an actor you've gotta figure out, okay, and they don't give you the script. Okay. So you, hey anybody so paranoid somebody's going to steal? So I mean you don't as an actor, you learn a lot from what other people other characters are saying about your character is well, it's what you're saying. So it's it doesn't enable the richness of performance that you would like to have. I don't think TV directors understand that, you know, when you do a film, you've, you've had the script quite a while. Right. So don't compare overnight last minute thing totally different. And also may I say this about indolence EP I really in the probably will just take away my membership. But I think it's so unfair to lump TV shows with film shows like in a words show. In other words, don't put bis actress from a TV show and Phil. Film in the same category because we don't have the script that long. I mean, if you're talking about memorizing lines so fast. Yeah. And, and they may even change in that day. But with the film not not. I mean, you've got the time to memorize Vilis study. Plus, you've got how many takes Nivose an a film you? I mean color purple. We had seventeen takes. Even would have to tell me Margaret, it's so caseload in, because I came in from television, you know, in blaxploitation films. You didn't. You didn't take that much time if you'd lose your lines. And you did the character. That was it next. Boom kyle. Because that's the kind of schedule. But would television a lot of shows now were shooting. Eight nine ten pages day compared to fill that three pages a day. Give me a break into. Yeah. Break in. I agree. So you mentioned earlier that you really trusted Steven Spielberg on this color, purple loved to work with him again. Hello, steven. I'm sure you're listening to this. What I wondered let I always wonder about white people being involved in helping to tell black stories like you would have to trust that, you know, he knows enough about the culture and the aesthetic in, etc. Etc. And I know there are some projects where I'm just like, okay, you can tell like you know, it's black, but you can tell them like a white person like wrote this. You know what I mean with colored purple, it was really even though it was a blood story. It was a universal Jerry for share it dealt with issues that every culture can deal with an eye. That was brought to my attention. When I had the, the ability, the opportunity to do the PR for, for color, purple throughout Europe. Oh, and we did these openings for dignitaries in the very elite people and these women. Would come out with tears in their eyes because they could relate, but I was just amazed that every country we went to all over Europe. And these women were coming out with just bloodshot eyes. Wow. And when I was in Paris, I heard that at that time, we're talking about thirty five years ago, the when you got your telephone Bill, there were, no telephone numbers that you called. And that was because the, the husband's in want the wives to know who they were calling on my, so that's. This, this, this some cultures are about the male dominance. Sure. Do you find that that same sort of thing plays out very heavily in the acting world, like well is far as comparison with Midden women? I think there's still a pay difference of. Sure. Yeah. For sure. There's that. And whenever I hear that the leading ladies getting a lot of money and cheese of color. I love it. I think is more. Yeah. But I remember Meryl Streep saying that when she did out of Africa with a Robert Redford. She gotten all the cabinet awards, but he got the money. Wow. So hopefully that's changing going back to the color purple for a second earlier, I'd asked about, you know, being able to trust Spielberg to make a film like that. That is not just the black film, but, you know, centers blackness and black people, what did it mean to you, as an actor as a black actor as a black woman. What did it mean to you, that await director, wanted to bring this particular movie to the mainstream until this particular story, like would it mean what feel like well when I read the script, I knew that it because like I said, before it's a universal theme and with all the sets and the 'cause to me and you know of. Juice needed a good director and I think that he gave it that feeling. Now he had said that the two points, here, one, we, there was a lot of controversy about him being white man, directing it, but they have to understand that q Quincy Jones shop that project all over the studios, no one wanted to do it. And we didn't have any black directors that were strong. I mean, we didn't have John singleton, and all people that have come up at this time, none of them were around that, that the studio with give a green light to. So Stephen was the only one that said, okay, I'll do it. So it's because of him that it was even done that day. So all of you who were upset about that, that's the that's the deal. So be quiet. The other point is. He we also got static from the gay population because we didn't IMF assign is the relationship between. Sealy in should and wasn't the book and Cevennes, also gave someone a natural gay person female the opportunity to write, and, and, but her slant on it was very, very gay. And he felt that at that time you gotta go back thirty years as different world band of he said that if we made it to gay get out gotten into that part of the of the book, then it would only show in artsy films of theaters. It wouldn't be be a commercial product. And I think he was right now, if it was today, you know, maybe could be totally different script more into, you know, should in and and Sealy they, they get into the little more in the in the play. Yeah. The theater. So I this. Wow. Out idea just popped in my head, and I don't know how I feel about it. But when you were talking about, you know, it, it was or having to make a movie that left out certain parts like that, you know, I know that it was necessary then today much, right? Yeah. What would you think about somebody remaking, the color purple like the movie? Like, I'm I was like, oh, it would be really cool to see, like, you know, to have like their relationship more emphasized shoe? But also don't touch the color purple. You don't do that. Like what, what would you think about that? It would give people work. So that's okay. I mean it's like. Everybody. It's like it's if, if you see an incident, you'll tell the story and then it'll be totally different. When I tell the story we all see something the same thing differently. It I wouldn't mind seeing a different light in. Also to you've got to know that. Four hours was cut from the film, really. I didn't know that for hours whereas the funded on it will, you know, who's gonna who's gonna show four hours. So I was told Stevens said that he cuts a film with tears in his eyes because all of that business with Sealy and Mr. see that they shot that relationship coming back together and her making the pants for him. He's and there was a lot fair. But, you know, you can't show. Everything decide. Right. You can't go a little here in a little there. You've gotta just make up your mind. What do you what your through line gonna be? And I have to understand that as an editor as an actress, because I've been cut out a lot of stuff, and I think locate eagles stop it. You know, you think life the director, right? Right, right, next time I wanna do enough stuff. So they. Cook much. Once again, Steve, and I hope you're listening for you are, but I didn't get in that film. I didn't get cut. Yeah. Good. So now I don't have to Stephen miss out them. You mentioned q earlier, as you call them, mystically Jones. Of course, my favorite scene from the color, purple and I cannot sing. So I apologize in advance but I'm gonna sing to you right now. He you been. And seems. You've been on mama. Assists and the credit goes to of five foot bombshell Puerto Rican. Her name is Todd. Todd viga. She did the singing for me. Well, she if you remember that God's trying to tell you something, she just sing that out. Mark, I could not have done that I'm not a gospel singer. I'm really more pop and jazz. And I've and I've done sister in my nightclub back, but I could never have done God's trying to tell you something, I see so Q as a music man. So he knew man and big. She made it rob. I mean, you know, when I go through that church. Maybe. Hello. Did you know at that time that you were a part of something that will be like while like the song and like just the moly news, fischel ios special, you know, particularly me coming out of blog fully tation? Yeah. In television with the way it moves on. But and we all wanted to please Ellis Walker. Wanted her to be proud when she like around the set, she was she will not all the time, but it seemed to be just when I was shooting. Of course. My god. Who she liked that? But everyone just felt the love of the story. We all try to do our personal bests being because that was my first a film. Yeah. It was Whoopi. First film at all on your first, it was for his film. Danny was really the one that really had been doing film. No. And it was Steven's first dramatic film. Wow. So we all had our own personal pressures. I look back. And I think, oh, I wish I had enjoyed it more. But I, I gained thirty pounds for the role in thirty days. My first thought was this house hard, and then because my heart. But back in and I thought benighted Cincinnati to no, I'll never have this opportunity again. Yeah. Haagen-dazs ice cream who clock in the morning off. Go to bit a whole pint, wait in the bed, of course because you can't move now. Berlin candidate in game. I mean, same, so you played a sex symbol in the color, purple, and now your own being Mary Jane, not so much a sex symbol. I don't think am I know I it's so hard fi myself as. Well, I would say, yes, absolutely. I know that because when people had girlfriends to call me at that time of when they were reading for color purple, and I had been in overseas. Singing didn't know anything about the projects of. And they were saying, Margaret, you know, if you haven't gone for colored purple, there's a part that's really for you. And I will read the book and I thought they meant Sealy. Wow. That I gravitated when I read it was like to me, I felt should, but I really thought they knew Singley. So that's showed me that people see you differently than you see yourself. So what is it like playing your character on being like do you watch the show? Do you watch yourself like at home? Just hanging out that line question. I like to see what do they cut out of me. Yeah. But I think the writing in that show Mara kill and Salim Akil. They just they were they were just really really wonderful. They were the creators. Yeah. And on at think it was like, probably one of the first times that we, we actually saw a black lead with 'em with the family and her life as opposed to just the family. So I think I think they did a wonderful job. Of course, Gabriel union. She was wonderful. Give me how do you do I can't even understand your lines and Utah? Oh my goodness mess somebody else, I think that I would just scream at if I ever met her what she's we're going with. Professional. She's she is sharp is a cookie. She's just say, okay. Okay. You guys we gotta get the separate remove time now. Come on. You really have to do this again. You know you know shoes on top of it. How has the film industry changed over your career 'cause you started off little bitty. Sweet tend to baby still a little sweet baby. I mean I came to Los Angeles in sixty eight after teaching school and was inspired by Sydney Portia getting an Oscar for lilies of the field, maybe like four years before, and then it was dying Carol who finally got it. She had her TV show. Julia. And I said, you know, acting is my passion. I just gotta go try. So when I came to Los Angeles of they're saying, I couldn't get an agent. They said we just don't get any calls for your type. They were they were put it nicely. But I knew I knew that it had to change. And so I continued to study and do free community theater and all of that stuff. And it was theater that got me, my opportunity for magnum fours because it was clinics with the saw me in this little community theater, and that opened up my, my television career. 'cause after people knew that I had industry new, I worked with Clint, hey, was a shoe. All right. Also, I was good. So. Whatever they like she's Lut, even if at time the industry, wasn't ready for that transition that cultural transition, because we had to do people color. We had to do our own mak-, because the colors weren't right for us a mass and, and the hair and there. I mean, the poor little white hairdressers. They look are here. Try you could you could hear that internal screen. So we'd have to do our own hair, and then, you know, the wigs at that time worth the quality that they are now. Hello. Hey. And so it was hard because the unions didn't have people of color, and for what I could put I understood someone told me that when they if you go and got your license for hair. The, the people that you worked on white, though, black hairdressers knew how to do white here, but it wasn't the reverse. So I just want people to know it's so nice now to have the right colors, and you're not gonna get on the camera looking as she right? Or like you just as goes. Black people. We change going, we do. Much change now. And then, of course now use the. People of color behind the camera and riders now I mean, it's, it's all different, but I'm still looking for work. Even century. Listening, but it's wonderful and women women are doing it now. And this is this is wonderful. All right. So this is one of my favorite parts of making the series. I get to ask you just random questions. Quick rapid fire. You ready? Okay. Okay. Let's go. Can you do any celebrity impressions? No, nothing that breaking baby. Or wait a minute way. Yeah. None of no. No. Wonder with us. Oh wrister, Domino's or spades. Not Domino's space. So you're ETA function fim reunion. As a solitary mine fell, family had a family reunion. And there's a celebrating line in your turn to go down the line. What dance are you doing down to streamline anything shaken, the booty? Hey, let's work. The booty always were. Dida restorative. I feel like when I'm feeling sad who's got home? But on the day into absolutely. Who was your first celebrity crush victims chewier. I'm not familiar. You wouldn't reduce it. My I did. I was a little girl. I just thought he was so beautiful with this coal black hair. Yeah. And he, he was just. So beautiful had to do a Google. Yeah. A. T U R, isn't right. Are you asked me? I told you one more question, who is your current celebrity crush? Oh, god. There's so many of them, who and they young two girls this is where we should have started. Okay, John, I don't know their names. But some of them have accents. So we love the, the, the young tenders with accent. Okay. I am into it. I had an absolute ball and a blast. How can with you? I'm so proud of myself for being able to actually speak. This is an absolute joy and pleasure in you've just made everyone day everyone has been so, so excited to have play shoot. And I'm just in thrall by the little ring on, you know. Oh, thank you. You should get when I think he can pull it out. I don't know like it hurts. It didn't tickle. All right. I hate to hate to rep for that, but we have to. The U of member. We still do that all the time like a little bit to see thank gosh. Then I had fun, thank. Oh, good. Thank you. Hello. My son's my students, and my muses. I am Dr Maya on jlo and I'm here to read. Poem upon them about the passage of time. And. Him respecting those that came before us. I call this poem, the black mothers a handbook. It's been written down in history via Terim or be it, right? That every black mother reads the same book from, which they give their child replies. You wanna go to that party. Did you clean up your room? I am not one of your little friends. Who do you think you at hawking too? Oh, you really think it's funny. I am. No booboo the fool. Do you have McDonald's money, did your s write a check for something that you cannot do, just like? And like sons with the certainty of tides. You're running up my light Bill. You smell like the outside. And so my child, I leave you this from one loving hot to another. There is absolutely nothing like the love of a black mother. Friends, if you are wondering why back to my Angelou herself has returned to the earth to address you directly is because she heard talking shit about how the other day when yachts video of her snapping on a fourteen year old girl, because she called her buffers name, apparently, they got wifi and heaven dues on the mainland. And that mainland is Twitter. Can I get a man? Man. Yeah, I wanted to ask my views on interracial relationships or thank you. I miss Angelo NGOs. I'm not my I'm sixty two years, I have lived so long and tried to hard that a young woman like you are in the other has no. You have no license to come up to me, and call me by my first thing, okay? So he's my thoughts here. My feels on this as an old millennial. I can see both sides of the argument, right? Because I was raised by women like my Angela. Like with our tone harsh was back to angelou's tone harsh. Sure. Absolutely. The shock me. No. I've heard it before was the girl wrong. Not putting some respect her name. Absolutely. However, this is just a generational difference. Y'all time on things change in Volve words take on different meanings. But you know what? Two things two things that never ever ever change our number one, the amazingness of black mothers and number two, the phrases that they use to keep us in mind, we've already talked about this. But I can't wait to ask anybody's tau. Any it'd be much Alba somebody shot if they had McDonald's money. I can't wait. I can't wait. And so as the black mother lingo, these flowers are for you. And we have flowers, Dr Angelou, who, again, had become all the way back down here to get you out together like Shan, unmelted do them, it get up my house. Thank you so much for tuning in, again, as we y'all I have to give it up to the amazing, MS Margaret, a reprint absolutely making my day. And hopefully we may George to you can follow her on Instagram at Margaret's shook Avery, which I think most beautiful imperfect screaming spilt just like it sounds. Good. So pure this show is produced by strong lead in net flicks with pineapple street media, IRA music is via deejay, Don. We'll the heart is working DJ in the podcast business. You can follow him on Twitter at done wheel. I have been your host, family. Previous dance captain Tracy Clayton better. Learn how to day. You can find me on Twitter at broken poverty. Please come and say, hey tweet me, your favorite color, purple quote. I'm very interested make sure that you follow strong lead on all of the socials at strong lead. If you enjoyed what you heard member Suming that you did, please spread the joy, also don't forget to rate and subscribe to drug legends on apple podcasts, by the FAI over ever. You get your podcast until next time. Keep shining, light lupita skin after a shea butter facemask, which I've never seen her immediately after one, but like you know what it looks like you can just see it. You can see it do that shine like that. So yeah, next week.

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