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Interview: Dorian Missick Talks ‘For Life’

Watch our conversation with Dorian Missick, the star of ABC’s legal drama For Life, as we discuss the significance of the show and how it facilitates a much needed conversation about the justice system.

Shawn Richardz: Hey Dorian, how you doing?

Dorian Missick: I’m very good, how are you?

Shawn Richardz: Good, good, good. So with this show, which I am a huge fan of – huge fan of your DJing and also a huge fan of your work. What is it about this show in this particular time do you think is important?

Dorian Missick: I feel like America is ready, you know, if they are not ready then they’ve been primed enough to where we can get them listening. The conversation about the American penal system has been going on and I just think that we have an opportunity to address it, and to be in people’s living room every day, every week rather, it really brings it home. A lot of times I think that if you are not from certain communities and something doesn’t affect you you feel like this is happening out there, this is not my thing. You can have an opinion about something that’s happening across the river, whereas when we are in your living room every week, there’s a certain feeling of having to deal with it. When you start rooting for Aaron and you like, “I don’t know anybody like this guy” but you’re rooting for him, it starts to open up your eyes and think that there are other Aarons. Or when you’re rooting for Jamal. And I think that’s an important thing about television, and one of the greatest things about our show – is that we’re able to open up a conversation for people that maybe wouldn’t talk about it…

Shawn Richardz: … Or are afraid to talk about it

Dorian Missick: Right! Or don’t even know, [or] have the tools to discuss it. Don’t even know it has to be talked about. I think that’s the biggest thing in America – people don’t realize that certain things have to be addressed. If it doesn’t affect them personally they feel like this is something that needs to be talked about. There are millions of people in this world, people in this country, that have a different experience than you and I. And it needs to be addressed.

Shawn Richardz: Well, I find it very interesting that your wife is playing a judge and you are doing this…

Dorian Missick: You find it interesting, I find it very natural. That’s a judgy lady! (laughs) I’m just kidding. I was like, yeah they picked the right one, you’re a judge for sure!

Shawn Richardz: So what are those conversations like when it comes time to coming home and maybe just decompressing from the character – for you and for her?

Dorian Missick: We talk about our work so much. I’m so glad we’re both doing something we are inerested in because we come home and we unload on each other, or download, however you wanna say it. Discuss our work at nausea. We discuss how to approach scenes. It’s just a lot. So this is just a natural progrssion that we both have shows that deal with the legal ssystem. And it’s a conversation that we have, especially her said of the family. Her side of the family is very political. We do family calls with her parents, and her brother and sister, it’s usually politics. Our family – we usually talk about religion or something, but her family – it’s usually politics. And so it’s like a very natural thing. I love debating with her dad, he’s my dad, I love debating with him about politics. So, it’s a natural progression in our household actually.

Shawn Richardz: Being that you are the DJ, is there a song or a music when you are on set to get in character?

Dorian Missick: I have a playlist that is kind of crazy, it’s all over the place. It really depends on what mood I need to be in for the day. It changes. As time goes by, the character kind of dictates what he needs to hear. And sometimes it’s not at all what I chose. Joy Bryans dressing room is next to mine, and sometimes I feel really sorry for her cause I blast my music. I wonder if Joy has a problem with this, she never said anything to me but I wonder (laughs). And I noticed that I’ve been mysteriously placed the furthest from the set. I think that’s because I make the most noise, Imma just be real (laughs)

Shawn Richardz: Well thank you so much. And we at Hollywood Melanin are so excited for your character and just having you come to the screen and bring all of these elements to your character.

Dorian Missick: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure

Shawn Richardz: Thank you!

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Interviews

‘Harlem’ Star Shoniqua Shandai Talks 3 Pillars of Success

Harlem Shoniqua Shandai

Shoniqua Shandai is fully immersed in the study of her success. Through her determination, Shandai found a way to reach the precipice of her goals. In an exclusive interview with Hollywood Melanin, Shandai shared an in-depth level of self-perception. She provided personal definitions of courage, confidence, and self-belief. 

The world is waking up to the power that Shandai holds. In the new hit Amazon series Harlem, the New York native brings Angie’s character to life. Many would look at her and say she is struggling, playing into the “starving artist” archetype, but if one looks closer, Angie’s only struggle is the battle with the conformity of the world. 

Series creator Tracy Oliver worked with Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Jerrie Johnson, alongside Shandai, to share a raw narrative of Black women who have the goal of living out their version of happiness.

Harlem
Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai, Jerrie Johnson, and Meagan Good / ‘HARLEM’ credit: Prime Video

Angie embodies liberty, a freeform display of what it means to be dedicated to pursuing a dream. Off-screen, Shandai knows the level of commitment it takes to create a world that fits a personal vision. It takes a custom-made level of courage, confidence, and self-belief. It takes a personal standard of hustle. 

Conquering the fear of being one’s true self ignites the labor in building confidence. Shandai admitted the process was in layers. “I found the confidence to be myself in having tried to be everyone else and it not working,” she continued, “I might as well show up as me–as vividly, as boldly, as audaciously as possible. You have to live for yourself.” 

I found the confidence to be myself in having tried to be everyone else and it not working

Courage is defined as “the ability to do something that frightens one.” To be one’s true self is nearly impossible without courage. It’s the secret ingredient to personal success. Before every interview, the repeated chorus from loved ones is “to be yourself,” but that takes courage. Shandai opened up and shared her process.

“Courage came from having to build confidence – I am who I am.” The actor and singer continued to explain that her support from her mother, adjacent to her self-determination fueled her confidence. 

Courage came from having to build confidence

To be unstoppable, there has to be a strong foundation of self-belief. The approval of others is fickle. Self-belief might be the only thread left to hang on to when no one else is willing to share blind faith in chasing dreams. 

The Amazon series star considered the solution to working when the motivation isn’t there, “I am incredibly future-oriented. Being so future-oriented has saved my life.” Shandai said. She admitted to reverting back, and taking baby steps in order to prepare for bigger strides. Each day, she pulled herself closer into the vision. 

Shandai said she is most happy when she is cooking success in multiple pots. Her next debut is coming in through audible wavelengths. As a singer and songwriter, she will be looking for a deeper level of self through music. 

Her first single, with visuals directed by her co-star Good, is called, Something About You. Nothing has been officially released yet, but Shandai is ready for this part of herself to rise to the surface. 

Through her personal definition of courage, confidence, and self belief, Shandai always finds the strength to keep extending her reach, to keep answering the calling on her life. Stay connected with Shandai on Instagram and Twitter. Bingewatch Harlem on Amazon Prime.

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Interviews

Robin Givens Talks Guest-starring on ABC’s Queens

Givens’ episode titled “Let the Past Be the Past” will air on Tuesday, February 8

Robin Givens is set to appear on the all-new episode of ABC’s music drama Queens. We sat down with the Ambitions star to discuss her joining the show and take a deeper dive into her pivotal scenes.

In Queens, we get a first-hand look at the dynasty built by the hip-hop quartet of women – Naomi (Brandy), Brianna (Eve), Valeria (Nadine Velazquez), and Jil (Naturi Naughton). Viewers meet the group on the verge of claiming their place at the top of the music game for the second time.

The upcoming episode titled ‘Let the Past Be the Past’ will feature Givens as Eric’s ex-wife, who will pay him an unexpected visit. Once the manager of the girl group, Eric will have to confront his former spouse to help save the future of Nasty Girl Records.

Last week ET exclusively released the first look images of Givens as Robin and her intense sit-down with Brandy’s Naomi – the woman who might’ve caused the breakup of her and Eric’s marriage. See the photos below.

Queens
Queens

The official ABC synopsis reads, “Queens follows a fractured girl group living in the shadows of their once prominent hip-hop dynasty. After their popularity skyrocketed with the success of their chart-topping single, “Nasty Girl,” they were once regarded as one of the greatest girl groups of their generation. However, the group was plagued by internal conflict and jealousy despite critical and commercial success. Estranged and out of touch, the four women, now in their 40s, reunite for a chance to recapture their fame and regain the swagger they had in the ’90s when they were legends in the hip-hop world.”

Watch Queens on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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Interviews

Eris Baker Talks ‘This Is Us’ Final Chapter and Pressures of The Industry

‘This Is Us’ has been making its viewers laugh and cry for six years now. NBC’s hit series and talented cast collected many nods and awards season after season, including several Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys. With the family drama on its sixth and final season, we sat down with one of the show’s stars, Eris Baker, who plays Tess Pearson, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) oldest biological daughter.

Eris grew up on the show, and she calls her castmates and crew, ‘family’. She took on her biggest television role thus far at the age of 10. Now, at 16, Eris is ready to enter a new chapter of her life and career.

This Is Us
Eris Baker as Tess / This Is Us – “Yellow Brick Road” Episode 602 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The oldest sister of 4 in real life, Eris never shied away from responsibility. So when the opportunity to audition for This Is Us presented itself, she gladly went after it. Convinced that she did not get the part, Eris later received the best news on Christmas – the role was hers. She admits that she did not realize how big this was back then and how massive it would become.

Eris says she never felt overwhelmed by her immediate professional surroundings as a child actor. Working on the set of This Is Us has always been comfortable and fun. However, Eris told HM, the pressures mounted from the demands that came with being in the industry – “You need a manager, you need an agent, you need a PR, you need to post this, you need to post that, you need to be this image for other people, and I don’t even know if I’m that image for myself,” she explained. A lot comes with being in the public eye, and the young talent says she is learning to navigate that.

Watch the rising star talk about working with her co-stars, reveal some of the pressures she faced growing up in the industry, and reflect on what lies ahead in her professional future.

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