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Sanaa Lathan Interview | SoulCulture.TV

April 9th, 2010 | by M. Gosho Oakes


Hollywood actress Sanaa Lathan talks to SoulCulture.TV about her family’s history in entertainment, being very critical of her own work and distinguishing between herself and the characters she plays.

“I am my instrument, you can’t just leave yourself behind. There’s a little of me in every character…. and yet… well-written characters have their own spirit about them.”

We also discuss her fun, cartoon role in The Cleveland Show – and the issue of under-representation of black culture, as well as being typecast for specifically “black” roles. “The truth is… I just want more opportunity,” she says.


“You don’t want the role that’s always written for a black woman because it just limits your choices; and that’s just the world that we live in today. I think it’s slowly changing…”

She names her recent theatre stretch in London’s West End – playing Maggie The Cat in a “historic” all-black casting of Tennessee Williams‘ classic Cat On A Hot Tin Roof - as some of her proudest work to date, enjoying the in-the-moment immediate audience response of theatre compared to the detachment of film work.

“I just wanna keep on being challenged… be scared a little, push myself out of my comfort zone; I think that’s how you grow… It’s not always the most comfortable thing to do, but that’s always been my philosophy.”

Interview by Marsha Gosho Oakes, Filmed and Edited by RizeOfTheRobotz
Photography by Steve Rutherford.

The floaty instrumental you hear in the background of the interview is “It’s Whatever” produced by Black Einstein, from SoulCulture’s Aaliyah Revisited tribute EP (2009) which features Baby Sol, Tawiah, Marsha Ambrosius, Vula, Jonas, Sy Smith, AFTA-1 and Nikko Gray. Download the instrumental from Bandcamp, or the full EP at AaliyahRevisited.com.

www.soulculture.tv

Want more Sanaa Lathan? CLICK HERE to watch her thoughts on the US tabloids’ attitude towards African American celebrities, celebrity culture, having rumours printed about her and developing a thick skin.

Comments

  1. “Being strong can be also feminine. I don’t think feminine equals being weak. Being strong is very sexy.” – Sanaa Lathan

    http://www.keepupwithyourfavoritecelebrity.com/Sanaa-Lathan.html

  2. [...] Really good interview with Sanaa Lathan courtesy of SoulCulture [...]

  3. Choppy says:

    Cat On a Hot Tin Roof – Brilliant show and incredible talent, a must see if it is ever on again. Sanaa should definitely come back to London and do some more work here. Brilliant.

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  16. [...] Sanaa Lathan talks to SoulCulture.TV about her family’s history in entertainment, being very critical of her own work and [...]

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  18. [...] Sanaa Lathan talks to SoulCulture.TV about her family’s history in entertainment, being very critical of her own work and [...]

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  27. Pbleepd says:

    Great Interview!! Beautiful and Genuine Woman

    1. Tola Ositelu says:

      Here, here Pbleepd. Gorgeous and intelligent lady. I wish we could see more positive representations of women in the media like Sanaa than the ones with which we usually have to make do these days.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sanaa is underrated and as she said it would be good to see her in more worthy, challenging roles. This play is a step in the right direction anyway. Also agreed with what she said about not everything being representative of a particular culture. Some shows are meant to be pure fluff.

      Great interview Marsha. Thanks for giving a long overdue platform to Ms Lathan.

      Shalom x

  28. Henry Yanney says:

    Gotta love Sanaa even if she doesn’t really resemble Sidney Shaw from Brown Sugar. Shes right about the high & complex expectations everyone has when a new “black” production is released, not every black representation can be shown.