Interviews

Glam Chats with Rhonda Freeman- Baraka

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brownnPastor Brown :Rhonda Freeman-Baraka’s tale of  of a wayward  pastor’s daughter who returns to Atlanta to face her past •Cast includes  Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Ernie Hudson, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David,  Michael B. Jordan, Tasha Smith, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Michael Beach, Angie Stone,  Monica Brown, and Rev. Creflo Dollar •Hopes that this film helps people mend  broken relationships, teach them to look past human flaws, and love  unconditionally.

 

Glam: Good Day to you Rhonda,  thanks for this opportunity to chat with you.

Rhonda: My pleasure, I am good how  are you?

Glam: I am great.

Glam: Where are you from?

Rhonda: I am originally from Tulsa  Alabama.

Glam: Your film Pastor Brown will  premier February 16th on Lifetime Network, how long have you been working on this  Film?

Rhonda: This project was shot  several years ago. It’s amazing to see it finally coming to life. We shot it  in Atlanta. We went through many channels trying to get the film picked up. I  can and will say it was worth the wait. Getting it on Lifetime for Black  history month is an indescribable joy.

Glam: You have a star studded  cast, were you involved in the casting?

Rhonda: I didn’t, I was consulted  by Rockmond Dunbar and he put the cast together. I am thrilled by the  choices. It’s an amazing cast and I couldn’t be happier.

Glam: Tell us about some of the  cast members and storyline?

Rhonda: Salli Richardson Whitfield  plays  Jesse, Pastor Brown the preacher’s daughter. Jesse never felt she was good  enough. She then went astray and left her family. In the story she returned  home to mend her broken relationship with them.

Her Sister Tania played by Nicole Parker is very hard on her. She  doesn’t support her and have no faith that she will get her life together.

Glam: Music Icons Angie Stone and  Monica make appearances. Tell us about their roles?

Rhonda: The show was shot in  Atlanta, but their story line plays out in New York. Monica is Jesse  Friend. Angie Stone was a natural on set. They were both very talented.

Glam: What was it like to work  with the legendary director Rockmond Dunbar?

Rhonda: Rockmond was great. He was  amazing, and worked very well with cast. His level of respect was incredible.  He saw and got the vision and stayed true to it. The finish product was so  close to how I envisioned it.

Glam: With your messages of  redemption and forgiveness, are these personal experiences?

Rhonda: It is not a personal  experience, but there are certainly elements and moments that are rooted in  my personal beliefs relating to religion. Living in a church, growing up in a  church, there are people who are living by the church doctrine. This shines  lights on the not only the beauty of religion and faith, but also the aspect of  it, that are not so glamorous.

Glam: This is not your first Film;  “Trinity Goodheart” was also a hit. How was your experiences with Eric Bene’t  and James Hong?

Rhonda: Eric Bene’t was great. He  came two weeks before we started production. We knew he was a musician with a  lot going on. But he surprised us and took his character very personal. He  was always on time, and had a beautiful spirit. He was great to work with.

James Hong was Fabulous. He would  give pointer to the other cast members and would add lip. This tells me he  understood the character. He put himself into the character. He was fabulous.

Glam: What do you think about the   challenges of Black Actors in Hollywood?

Rhonda: I think the challenges are  what they have been for a long time. It is hard finding quality characters  that are easy to identify with at a personal level. Salli Richardson said she  identifies with Jesse and that’s why she took the role. Today we find many  Actresses and Actors producing and writing their own film.

Glam: Do you think that we have  lost the soul of Black Films, just to adapt to the new world?

Rhonda: Well I think everyone has  a story to tell. I might look at a Film and I might not agree with the  content. I just say that Film is not for me, but someone else is going to  identify with it. Do I challenge people to producing uplifting contents?  Absolutely, is that a regular requirement? Not at all. You are only required  to tell a story through you. There will be people who don’t identify with it,  and those who do. We all have the freedom to watch it, turn it off or not  support it.

Glam: What’s next for Rhonda?

Rhonda: I have two upcoming  projects. The first one is the project for the  called “Teacher”  It’s a light hearted family drama. I love this project because it pays  tribute to our teachers, who are over overlooked and not giving the  recognition they deserved. Another is a project called “Looking for Jubilee”  A comedy with Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Parker. Both of those projects will be  in production next spring, early summer.

Glam: Thanks again, best wishes and a  lot of blessing. Glam will be watching Lifetime February 16th at 8pm sharp!

Rhonda: Thanks Glam.

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