2013 NAACP Image Awards nominee, TV One’s popular series Washington Watch with Roland Martin, returned to Los Angeles yesterday for its fourth annual West Coast taping at KCET studios in Burbank. What was advertised as a taping felt more like a family reunion for Black Hollywood as Radio Facts was on hand to join in the festivities and watch Roland Martin do his thing and chop it up with a few of the NAACP Image Award nominees. In a world where roles a scarce, the talent is immense, and everybody knows your name or at least your face due to the oxymoronic minuscule enormity of Black Hollywood, you would think the pressure and tension in small green room filled with actors, actresses, producers, writers, and directors would be thick enough to feel like Florida humidity. It was quite the contrary; I felt like I was on a movie set for a new Soul Food sequel and the cast members were honored to be working amongst each other.
In a room that included the likes Tatyana Ali, Elise Neal, Essence Atkins, Boris Kodjoe, Robert Townsend, Will Packer, Salli Richardson, Rockmund Dunbar, Miguel Nunez, Phil Morris, Kim Whitley, Jonathan Slocum, Ricky Harris, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson of Earth Wind & Fire, Roland Martin, and a host of others this was the place to be on a pleasantly sunny Thursday afternoon in the city of Burbank.
As Roland taped several segments with each of guests with 3 panelist during each segment, the green room was filled with producers going over show content with the talent, make-up artists looking for their next facial canvas, production assistants assisting, invited media conversing amongst one another while trying to snag an interview or two, and celebs reminiscing, networking, and cracking jokes, as the aroma of Uncle Andre’s BBQ and soul food filled the room. While Roland Martin covered topics ranging from the lack of quality roles in Hollywood of African Americans, the NAACP Image Awards, Black philanthropy, to the violence in Chicago on the Washington Watch set, we had the chance to chop it up with a few of his celebrity guests in the green room and pick their brains on a slew of topics.
Tatyana Ali, who was just a few days off of a birthday and looking beautiful as always, was excited to talk to us about her new role on the BET show, Second Generation Wayans. The former Fresh Prince of Belair had this to say, “The show takes place in Hollywood. It’s Damien Wayans, Craig Wayans, George Gore, and my character Mya. On the show they decide to start their own production company to get out of the shadow of their famous family so you can imagine the twists, turns, and good times we have doing the show.” She also mentioned that people would be surprised that she was quite the gardner.
While Ms. Ali may be planting crops, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White of the legendary group Earth Wind & Fire were (For More on Earth Wind & Fire click “Next”)