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Paula Jai Parker on Making History with ‘Family Time’ and Why She’s ‘Proud to be an American’ [EUR Exclusive]

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Paula Jai Parker

Paula Jai Parker

*After 8 seasons on Bounce’s longest-running comedy series, “Family Time,” actress Paula Jai Parker tells EURweb that the cast and crew are still “one big happy family.”

“It’s insane that we’ve been doing this for eight years, almost a decade. It feels great because not only are we doing it on a predominantly black network, but how many shows are going eight years nowadays? Eight seasons we’ve lasted. And that’s just… That’s God, because there are shows that come and go,” Parker explained in our exclusive interview. 

Created by Bentley Kyle Evans, the record-breaking comedy series centers on the Stallworths, a working class Black American family living the American dream. The show stars Omar Gooding, Angell Conwell, Bentley Kyle Evans, Jr., Jayla Calhoun and Tanjareen Martin. 

Parker plays Lori, the sassy sister of Conwell’s character, and she tells EURweb that “Lori is that independent freak I would want to be, but don’t.”

Check out our full Q&A with Ms. Paula below. 

READ MORE: These 7 Refs Will Make History Monday as the 1st All-Black Officiating Crew to Work an NFL Game (Video)


How often do you find yourself checking social media, following the Family Time hashtags or reading the blog recaps to see what fans think of the show?

I don’t, but my sisters do. Tanjareen (Martin)… I have nieces their ages so they’re genuinely like my little sisters. We fight every single season like sisters. We make-up every single season, and we love each other all through the year until we see each other the following year. We talk, we mentor, and that’s both ways. So Tanjareen is the major person that’s great at Instagram. 

She will send me some pictures like, “Here’s this, post this.” And sometimes I’m like, “I am not posting that.” Some of the stuff she sends me, I’m like, “I’m not posting that.” So I’m getting better at posting. But Tanjareen is definitely the queen of posting, keeping us organized. She used to host a weekly party. If it wasn’t for this whole pandemic, she’d probably still be hosting it, a weekly viewing party. She used to host all of our seasons until this pandemic.

She’s hosted where we go to a sports bar and we watch every episode with our fans. And it’s fun, we’re watching it for the first time. Those were the only times I got to see it, was when I went to that because I just don’t like watching myself. I can’t. I was there. I don’t need to relive the experience.

What have you been most impressed with when it comes to your character’s growth over the past 8 seasons?

I’m most impressed with the writers, period. It’s called Family Time, but it’s really about Bentley’s family and his wife Vee. She has like eight sisters, so he just condensed it down to the three most prominent ones with the biggest mouth. They’re all from LA. She’s that chick that had eight bad-ass sisters. So Family Time is really Bentley’s life story and his kids.

So me, I’m a supporting cast member. So my arc, it didn’t begin really about me, it’s really grown into being more about myself and Tanjareen and all the other people that are in their lives. Because when you first start out, you have to focus on the core so that people get to know and love the core. And as you expand your world and you keep continuing to grow eight years, you’re like, “Okay, well, let’s meet more people.” So my character has definitely grown.

This season is the most fun because I get to really express my comedy chops. She’s (Lori) dating seriously this season. My husband reminded me, he’s a fan of the show, that Lori starts dating this season. Before she didn’t really… she’d talk about her dates and she was more of a floozy, but now she’s trying to find the one. Lori wants to get serious this season.

How much of your own personality do you embed into a character like Lori?

Paula isn’t going to do the things that Lori does. Lori is who Paula would want to be, but never could because Paula is a good girl. Paula wouldn’t do those things, but I can do them through Lori. So it’s like you’re living a fantasy through somebody else’s character. That’s how acting is. You get to be different people. Sometimes I’m a secret agent. Sometimes I’m a cop. I just recently got to play a real fun, crooked cop. So none of these people are me, but I can empathize to the point where if it was me, this is how I experience it, and own it, and love it. So yeah, Lori is that independent freak I would want to be, but don’t.

family time cast1

What’s your reaction to Kamala Harris’ historic win and the power of the black vote?

I cry. And it’s because we’ve been told as black women for so long that we’re not worthy. That we can’t. And when I say black women, I’m not just talking about American black women, because we know the color of our skin, it spans the nation, the world, the globe. Women of color have been forced to wear scarves across their face to hide their beauty, to hide. And for the first time, someone said, “This woman of color is worthy of being the first in America.” And as an actress, I’ve been told for so long that I’m only qualified to be the best friend when I’m in a mainstream project. And in a sense, that’s what she is. She’s the best friend.

So these tears are tears of joy because we’re still the first. But we still got a ways to go, but I’m not mad at it. I’m proud. And I’m thankful and I’m tearing up just talking about it because she could have chosen to go to Harvard, but she chose black Harvard, Howard university. She’s checked all the boxes. People want to say, she’s not really a black woman, but she chose to be an American black woman because that’s what you see when you look at her, nobody asking her, “Is your mama Chinese, Asian, or is your daddy…”

No one even considers that when they look at people of color globally, they don’t ask you, “Are you biracial?” Halle Berry played a whole role about a negro trying to prove she was negro because you ain’t never going to get a break, no matter what you are when you are biracial. And I still accept and acknowledge that America still has a long way to go. She embraced our culture and our culture is what makes America, America.

And I’m just proud of America because at the end of the day, I don’t care if she’s descended from slaves or descended from Arabs or descended from Mahatma, I don’t know where she’s descended from, but she’s here, and she’s still black. She’s black. You can’t look at her and not see a black woman. And I believe, at least for the next eight years, that women of color will get respect. Because for the eight years that Barack was in office, for those eight years honey, we got respect. That ended a little, for four years. It’s been a tough four years.

But at the end of the day, we’re making leaps and bounds. We’ve got a way to go, but we’re there, and I’m so proud to be an American. I am thankful that I’m seeing it in our lifetime. We’ve seen a lot just in our lifetime, and we’ve made a lot of this happen. We’re responsible for these changes, and I’m proud that we’re showing the world.  I’m glad that we as African-Americans are also coming together, because it ain’t where you’re from, at this point, it’s where you’re at. 


And then of course, you’re revisiting your character in The Proud Family, Disney+ announced the reboot earlier this year. 

I get to be my boujee self. I get to be my educated Howard University graduate, because that’s who my character is. She’s a Howard university graduate, she’s a veterinarian, she’s a pillar of the community, she does a lot of animal services. And I am so thankful that my career has been able to last, first of all, thank you, Jesus, but just that I’ve been able to do so many diverse things and show so many diverse aspects of myself, because what we’re celebrating, isn’t the norm for me.

I’m known for Friday, being in your face and who’s your mama of the year, but these characters that we’re celebrating right now, like Lori, she’s a paralegal. She went from just pretending to be a lawyer to really doing something about it. She’s a paralegal now, who’s now this season, in law school. So there’s no telling where she can be in season nine, have her own save the people law firm, finally graduate the bar. We’re told that Lori has failed the bar nine times, I don’t even know how many, but she doesn’t stop trying. I love Lori because she doesn’t stop trying.

Lastly, what can you tell us about how the new series differs from the original?

We’re a whole new show. It’s no reboot. It’s a whole new world. We’ve brought on new people, Keke Palmer is a series regular.  We’ve got Cedric the Entertainer back, our original cast. We’ve got some phenomenal guests, like Gabby Douglas. We’ve got everybody who is anybody in the black community. Once again, it’s stepping out and showing this show mad, mad love, including lady Beyonce, and her little sister Solange. Queen Solange is back featuring Destiny’s Child singing our opening track. So we got it all back and it’s all in the family.

And we’re on Disney+ and Disney+ is doing so many great things for our community and programming. And I’m just excited to be a part of the Disney+ family right now, especially because when the pandemic hit, so many of my brothers and sisters, I’m not talking about black, I’m talking about Americans, were really going through it. I was doing a cartoon so I could work from home. I was able to survive and then give back and help others comfortably without fear. And it was thanks to Disney+. I just want to thank God, because timing is God. So yeah, we’re back and we’re back louder and prouder.

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Celebrity Designer Jessica Rich Shares Behind-the-Scenes Look in Fashion World on Digital Reality Show

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Jessica Rich

“BOSS AF” airs on IGTV at 3:00pm PST on Instagram @BOSSAFLA

*Celebrity fashion shoe designer Jessica Rich is giving her fans a full access pass into her life on her digital reality show Boss AF, which can be viewed on Instagram @BOSSAFLA.

The 10-minute mini-series is meant to showcase the day in the life of the young mogul and goes behind the scenes of the process of building her brand and working with high-profile VIP clients such as Cardi B, J.Lo, Kylie Jenner, Normani, and Saweetie while also juggling a personal life.

“I just feel like my life has always been very interesting because of juggling a lot of things since moving from Michigan and going to New York then making something out of nothing,” Rich said. “It’s a great behind-the-scenes story of a young entrepreneur’s life, the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis and how she keeps it all together.”

MORE NEWS: Dave Chappelle Gets Into Heated Confrontation with Fans in Texas [VIDEO]

 

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Last month, Rich opened her footwear store in The Beverly Center next to major brands Burberry and Versace. She plans to use the space to showcase and sell other Black brands she loves and believes in, alongside her own.

While she continues to grow her brand, Rich, who started out as a wardrobe stylist, admits her success hasn’t come easy.

“I started my brand with $1000 and here we are three years later opening a store at the Beverly Center that Giuseppe Zanotti used to be inside of. Everything seems so surreal, but I worked hard for these moments,” Rich said. “I want to continue to open different stores in different cities and then I want to also do a big collaboration with another designer such as Tom Ford.”

For more information on the Jessica Rich shoe collection visit Jessicarich.com and follower her on social media @jessicarichcollection and/or @jessicarich

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Keke Palmer and Common to Host YouTube’s ‘Bear Witness, Take Action 2’ [VIDEO]

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*Keke Palmer and Common have been tapped to host YouTube Original’s Bear Witness Take Action, 2 – premiering on December 5th.

According to the press release, the 2-hour program will highlight discussions on racial injustice, while inspiring viewers to “take action” toward equality and the protection of Black lives. This will be the second installment of Bear Witness, Take Action, with appearances by Anthony Anderson, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mark Cuban Jemele Hill and more, with performances by Patti Labelle, Rapsody and Saint JHN.

Check out the trailer above.

“The first Bear Witness, Take Action was very moving, and I’m excited to return for the second installment to continue these necessary discussions centered around racial injustices in order to nurture, enhance and protect Black lives. I’m looking forward to the talented and intelligent people we have joining us this time around for more compelling and impactful conversations that we believe will lead to action,” said Common.

READ MORE: Keke Palmer Reacts to Backlash Over Her Comments About EBT Cards and Healthy Food

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“I’m honored to return to Bear Witness, Take Action and partner with YouTube in an effort to amplify Black voices and create the changes we need to see now. It is so important that we keep a dialogue about racial justice going beyond any particular moment,” said Keke Palmer. “I want to encourage my peers to continue to have thoughtful and powerful conversations that will lead us to change. Let’s talk about it, take action, and see change realized.”

The two-hour global conversation on racial justice premieres live Saturday, December 5 at 6pm ET / 3pm PT on the YouTube Originals channel. The special is produced by the SpringHill Company, Fly on the Wall Entertainment, Hudlin Entertainment and Byron Phillips. Reginald Hudlin serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner.

“Bear Witness, Take Action 2” programming includes the following:

  • Musical Performances:
    • Living legend Patti LaBelle
    • Grammy-nominated recording artist Rapsody 
    • Multi-platinum recording artist SAINt JHN 
  • Intimate Panel Conversations:
    • Why are athletes such a big part of today’s racial justice movement?  Reporter and analyst Jemele Hill talks to WNBA 4X All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith and Dr. Harry Edwards, sports sociologist and activist, for more than half a century internationally recognized authority on developments at the interface of sports and society, about the history and future of athletes and political activism.
    • What happens when a team owner talks to a major player about white privilege, civic responsibility and social justice?  Find out when Dallas Mavericks owner (and Shark Tank star) Mark Cuban talks with 2x Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans safety & activist Malcolm Jenkins.
    • Two political commentators, CNN’s Bakari Sellers and Peacock’s Zerlina Maxwell, look at the implications of the election results from a perspective you don’t see on other shows. 
    • Isabel Wilkerson, author of the CASTE, the hottest book of the season, sits down with journalist Soledad O’Brien to explain what it means to make our society more equitable. 
    • Soledad O’Brien also talks with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Founder and Executive Director of Essie Justice Group Gina Clayton-Johnson to talk about criminal justice reform.
    • How do we deal with all the images of violence, the economic pressures of a failing economy, the isolation of quarantine, and social unrest around us?  Mental health professionals Dr. Mariel Buquè, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford and YouTube commentator Tarek Ali talk about how to cope.
    • Renowned philosopher Dr. Deepak Chopra goes deeper than politics to find the path to healing voices of hate.
    • Entertainers have a long history of being political activists.  We talk with some of the next generations of those actors/activists using their platform like Skai Jackson and Brandon Kyle Goodman
    • Teen activists Naomi Wadler and Mari Copeny talk with activist and educator Brittany Packnett Cunningham about how all three of them fight for change.
    • Television host and Netflix’s “Queer Eye” star Karamo and YouTube creator ARROWS (formerly Ari Fitz) talk with National LGBTQ Task Force leader Kierra Johnson about the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality.
    • Actor and activist Kendrick Sampson talks with Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson about concrete steps to take action and make change happen in the movement for racial justice. 
  • Appearances:
    Anthony Anderson
    Katelyn Ohashi
    Asante Blackk
    Chase Young

“With voter participation in this year’s election hitting historical highs, people are looking for next steps to heal and transform society. “Bear Witness, Take Action 2” dives deep into changing laws, changing society, and most importantly, changing ourselves. The show transforms hearts and minds through honest conversations, expert insights and inspirational music and testimony that leaves you with concrete action plans that we can all do to make a difference,” said Executive Producer Reginald Hudlin.

“Bear Witness, Take Action 2” is part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. Over the next three years, this global fund will be used to acquire and produce YouTube Originals programming, and to directly support Black creators and artists to help them thrive on YouTube.

*via press release

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Tiffany Haddish Drops 40-Lbs During COVID Quarantine: ‘I Want the Body of Flo-Jo’

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*Tiffany Haddish has revealed that she’s lost 40 pounds during her COVID-19 quarantine. 

“During this COVID period, I’ve lost 40 pounds,” Haddish tells PEOPLE, adding that she’s been exercising every day for “anywhere from 15 minutes to sometimes two hours.”

“I had this thought in my mind that I want the body of Flo-Jo!” Haddish 40, says, referring to late Olympian track-and-field superstar Florence Griffith Joyner, who holds the world record as the fastest woman of all time.

Haddish is also committed to eating healthier and following a regular vitamin regimen. 

READ MORE: Tiffany Haddish Slams Common Breakup Rumors: ‘It’s Gonna Work’

“I’ve been eating differently, eating way more vegetables, definitely eating directly out of my garden and just really putting in the work, making sure I sweat every single day and staying up on nutrition – nutrition is everything,” she says. “And I try to dance every day for like five to ten minutes. I think that’s really important, too: Make it fun!”

The comedian says she’s also focused on creating opportunities for others so that she doesn’t end up homeless and hungry again. 

“I was homeless and hungry – that’s like two Hs you don’t want to be! Once I got over that hump, I felt relieved. But also I felt like I must continue to work and create opportunity for others so that I don’t end up that way again.”

Haddish has been working with WhyHunger’s Hungerthon, to help ease hunger this holiday season.

“This is the 35th year that they’ve done it. I’m like, ‘I’m going to be a part of this.’ I wanted to see how I can contribute. In what way can I lend my platform to spread the word to help?” she says. “There’s a lot of people in our country right now that are starving.”

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