Glam Chats with Rhonda Freeman- Baraka
Pastor 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.
Like Glam at www.facebook.com/glamsensedivas