Da'Vine Joy Randolph On 'The United States Vs. Billie Holiday' And Reuniting With Lee Daniels

'When our people watch it, I hope they get tingles inside, because it's Black!'

2/27/2021 12:19:00 AM

'When our people watch it, I hope they get tingles inside, because it's Black!'

'When our people watch it, I hope they get tingles inside, because it's Black!'

That was my show!DJR:Girl, thank you! Thank you.12. Season 2 was actually supposed to focus on you. What were you hoping to share with fans about Cherise's life?The humanity. I wanted to show that she's not a stereotype and show her world outside of the record store. I wanted people to see how she navigates the world and her relationships. I don't think Cherise gets too caught up with men. There might be one person that might get her, but I think Cherise is the type to go,"Girl, go on and live your life. You're fly and you're sexy, so on to the next one!"

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13. Do you still talk to anyone from the cast?Absolutely! We all keep in contact still. That was another cast where it really felt like,"Oh, this is special. We're creating something special." It was very hands-on and we were all very motivated to make it the best thing it could be.

Phillip Caruso / Hulu / Everett Collection14. Was there a certain TV show or movie that inspired you to become an actor?No, only because I wasn't on track to be an actor. I'm a classically trained singer, but even before that, I was a singer. I got into classical singing off of a dare. So then, when a whole career change happened, it was a little different for me. But I did watch lots of stuff when I was growing up. headtopics.com

15. Was there anything you watched during your childhood that you'd still watch today?I will say, the standard for me, especially when I do comedy, is theMartinshow. The level of dedication and drive? Bar none! So I've always been like,"If I ever did something similar or had the opportunity to, I would try as best as I could to come at it at that level." BET still plays reruns all day long. I go to bed to that, cracking up laughing. It truly stands the test of time, but good quality does that.

The Hartman Group / Getty Images16. You mentioned being a classically trained singer. Who are some of your musical inspirations?Leontyne Price, for sure. Maria Callas, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, and Mahalia Jackson.17. Which TV shows are you currently binge-watching right now?

I'm out of the country right now, so Netflix is different in different countries. Where I'm at, for some reason, it's a ton of Bollywood, so I'm watching all the Bollywood fabulousness, and they're amazing!18. Have you picked up any new hobbies or returned to any old hobbies during the pandemic?

I got back into self-care, and by that, I mean all the things that we went to go get done before COVID — like our nails, makeup, and hair. I've been DIY'ing it this whole time. At this point, I probably could have gone somewhere to get those things done, but I've really been enjoying doing different protective and braiding styles with my hair, and becoming my own little aesthetician and giving myself facials. After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I was like,"I got this!" I mean, listen, I leave the serious stuff up to the professionals, but I've been impressed by what I've done so far. headtopics.com

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Frazer Harrison / Getty Images19. What's the last book that you read?I've been reading a lot of scripts, but the last book that I read wasI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I was doing an animation gig and they wanted the character to sound similar to Maya Angelou, and I was just like,"I'm gonna read the book." So yeah, that was the last one that I read.

20. What have you been listening to lately?Jazmine Sullivan!21. Yes! I'm assuming you've listened toHeaux Tales?Yes! I'm telling you — thank you, Jazmine. We need it for that quarantine, especially because some peoplewanta second and third quarantine. That has been the one that has gotten me through. It's so fierce. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's just an EP. I don't even think it's, like, a full album. She gave us a cute tease. It will definitely hold us over until the next one. I'm waitin'!

Rich Polk / Getty Images22. Have you ever been starstruck?The one person that I was the most starstruck by is the recently passed Cicely Tyson. I met her years ago, when she was doing the Broadway playThe Trip to Bountiful. I was about to make the big move to LA and it was my last night in New York. I knew a friend in the show, so I saw it and then I went backstage to congratulate my friend, and that's when Cicely called me over. We ended up having a three-hour conversation and it was everything my soul needed as a new actress coming in the business. It was one of those things I was like that was all God because I wasn't seeking that. I was truly awestruck by her presence.

23. In that moment you were the fan, but do you have a wild fan story that sticks out to you?Last year, when we were on the press tour forDolemite Is My Name, there was one group of people that always seemed to be where I was, whether it was a restaurant, at a hotel, or even doing press at 30 Rock. They just always knew my comings and goings. I was like,"Who's leaking this?" So that was a little like,"Oh, I don't do well with stalkers." headtopics.com

Francois Duhamel / Netflix / Everett Collection24. Have you ever slid into another celeb's DMs or vice versa?I've thought about it before, but I haven't done it. If I really was feeling you, I could probably find somebody that knows you, like six degrees of separation. I could be wrong, but I just feel like, if I did slide in someone's DMs, maybe they wouldn't take me seriously or they might think that I was just a fan.

25. That's understandable. What about on a friendship level?I've definitely had people slide into my DMS platonically, just to be sweet and kind like,"Oh, I thought your performance was great." But yeah, nothing scandalous.26. Have you ever been surprised to hear that someone you admire in the business has seen your work?

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I remember when I met Quentin Tarantino, I was very surprised to find out he knew my work. I mean, later I found out he was actually really a fan of Rudy Ray Moore [the original Dolemite, portrayed by Eddie Murphy in the movie], but I was very surprised that he had watched

Dolemiteand knew who I even was.Francois Duhamel / Netflix / Everett Collection27. And lastly, do you like to watch your own work?I really don't like to watch my work. It's funny, because technically when you do these press junkets, you're supposed to have already watched the project, but I don't. My reason for doing that is, when I enter into a character, I lose myself in that character. So I'm not myself. So, if I were to watch my work, I'd begin to judge it, and the magic that took place with me just getting lost in a character is now removed. I'd start thinking like,"Why don't you do that?" or"Oh, they could have put more makeup on you" or"Why your hair look like that?" It would be difficult to separate myself from the character. So for me, it allows me to stay in my process of non-judgment and fully be able to dive in. I'm very hard on myself and I think if I watched my work, I would be too in my head, judging it, and I wouldn't be able to be free.

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