Phylicia Rashad on ‘For Colored Girls’ & Common

Ms. Phylicia Rashad is an icon that needs no introduction. She’s played Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, Ida ‘Big Momma’ Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the incomparable Mrs. Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show. Most recently, Ms. Rashad portrayed Common’s mother in Just Wright, which became available on DVD September 14, as well as Gilda in Tyler Perry’s upcoming film version of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.

Parlour chatted with the woman who helped shaped our idea of success, and what men our age define as the perfect companion, about working with Common and her role in the black movie of the season.

How was working with Common as his mother?

Ms. Phylicia Rashad: Needless to say, it was so much fun. He was so much to be with, to be around such an open honest person. I would marvel at him because his eyes did things that can not be taught, all of that openness and all of that sincerity was always his presence are in his eyes.

If you could give him any acting tips, what would they be?

That he just continue and do more of it because the camera loves him. He’s played a variety of roles, and as my friend says ‘There’s more news at 11.’

How did you enjoy making the remake of  For Colored Girls?

This is not a remake because it was never a film before. This is the film version of Dr. Shange award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Was Enuf and Mr. Tyler Perry put his heart and his soul into it. What an experience that was, there’s something so powerful that happens when women come together in a way that honors women and focuses on women.

This particular group of women was just amazing, oh my gosh. It was lovely, that’s my word, lovely honey, because it had so much love in it! The women were so easy with each other, it was amazing to listen to the hair and makeup team talk about this group of women with no egos and no problems, it was just wonderful! Highly developed, highly skilled women, all of them!

What can you share about your character? We see her running scared in the trailer…

I’m not going to give too much away here because I want people to enjoy it without expectations. If you are familiar with the play in its original form, you will understand that the playwright has given the women in its original version has given the women colors, the woman in red, the woman in green, the woman in yellow, the woman in brown, the woman in white, you know. Mr Perry said that Gilda, the role that I play, has all the colors. When you you understand what Dr. Shange wrote, all women are colored girls.

In celebration of Ms. Rashad and the release of Just Wright on DVD, we’re giving away copies to some lucky readers. Details to follow!

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