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Written by: Kyree Shockley (@chroniclesofky)

With season three of STAR underway, Brittany O’ Grady, who plays the role of Simone Davis, is showcasing all of her talents while unpeeling the many layers of her character. In the last two seasons, fans have witness Grady effortlessly portray the very fragile, complex Simone but Grady says that tapping into her role is no easy feat.

“She’s evolve so much,” said Grady. “She was supposed to be borderline crazy –very different from who I am but it’s human for us to all change and evolve. Playing her [Simone] is a fun challenge I enjoy.”

Though there are major differences between Simone and Grady’s upbringing, Grady takes the similarities between them and uses it to convey authenticity on the show.

“Despite her negative past, Simone is very sensitive,” Grady said. “People underestimate her but she’s a lot stronger than what people think and I share that in common with her.”

One of the more significant similarities between Grady and Simone is that they’re both biracial. In the early stages of her career, Grady accepted roles playing Latino women but Star is the first opportunity Grady’s had to play herself. With the show success thus far, Grady is looking forward to taking some of her own personal experiences and exploring the possibilities of diving deeper into her character’s racial makeup.

brittany o' grady star on fox

“It’s hard to identify when other people don’t see you as you are,” said Grady. “I grew up in a diverse area but I was picked on. People told me I didn’t’ count as black and was called different racial names throughout my life. Then when I went to college, which is a private, predominately white, Christian university, it felt like I was in Get Out. I was tossed around by people’s perceptions and Simone has been through that as well.”

Even though Simone has experienced many ups and downs throughout the seasons, (the passing of her mother, sexual abuse, placed in foster care, and now a pending divorce), Grady finds Simone’s sassy one-liners to be one of her favorite things about her role.

“Simone is always bringing an edge,” Grady said. “She’s comedic, she’s fun and I like to crack up with the things that she says. It’s fun to have that side of myself show through her.”

Despite the recent turn of events, Grady says fans should expect Simone to move forward and make “a lot of personal wins” this season.

“She’s no longer stuck in her past,” said Grady. “I’m really excited about her tackling things that have more to do with her and not what others have done to her.”

In the spirit of moving forward Grady talked about where she would like to see her character go in the future and how she would like for Simone to grow in the seasons to come. And the two big things Grady would like to tackle are race and sexuality.

“I want to talk more about Simone’s race, how she feels about it and her sexuality because she’s fallen in love with men and women,” said Grady. “ I want to see their [FOX’s] explanation especially to an audience who may not understand it.

With her character possibly being bisexual and having friends a part of the LGBTQ community, Grady wants to bring awareness to the discrimination and issues many bisexual people face. She would like for Simone to express her sexuality without the stereotypical “flip flop/ confused” narrative but in a way that honors those that are affected.

“It’s one of my biggest purposes in life,” Grady said. “As an ally, I want to portray the bisexual experience the best way I can. One of my friends that I’ve had since I was 12, came out to me as trans during the pilot and she told me the first time she saw someone stick up for trans people on TV, it was me and that’s something that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

star on fox

At 22, Grady has seen much success and continues to be an inspiration to young actresses, especially those who are biracial and looking to her as role model. Grady’s piece of advice to those aspiring to be where she is: “let what inspires you, inspire you.”

“You don’t have to be put in a box,” said Grady. “The emotions and stories that you tell are way more important than what people want to perceive you as. Your race is who you are and it’s a part of you but it shouldnt let other people define your work or your ability to tell a story.”

In case you wanted to know what other projects Grady has in the works, be on the look out for her movie, Above Suspicion –at true story about an FBI agent who’s assigned to a small town in Kentucky, where he becomes involved with a local woman, leading to scandal. In the meantime, be sure to watch Grady on FOX’s hit show, STAR every Wednesday at 9/8c.

Celebrity Interviews

Saweetie Talks Music & Black Lives Matter on Quibi’s Musicology w/ Tim Kash

‘Tap In’ and ‘My Type’ Rapper, Saweetie, sits down with Tim Kash and discusses her upcoming album, as well as the current headlines surrounding the speculation of lynchings and how she is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

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saweetie

‘Tap In’ and ‘My Type’ Rapper, Saweetie, sits down with Tim Kash and discusses her upcoming album, as well as the current headlines surrounding the speculation of lynchings and how she is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

tim kash saweetie interview

We are really glad to hear Saweetie’s forthcoming album is nearly here. She has been in the spotlight for a minute now and her fans (we are fans) deserve to hear a full body of work from her.

saweetie

More importantly, however, we love to hear she is doing her part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Someone with a platform as large as Saweetie’s is definitely needed in this good fight! These recent lynchings of Black men in various parts of the country being labeled as suicides is nothing short of nonsense and murder at the hands of white supremacists. Thanks Saweetie for speaking out!

You can catch Saweetie’s interview with Tim Kash below! Happy viewing!

 

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Celebrity Interviews

WATCH NOW: OWN’s Exclusive Press Roundtable w/ The Cast of “Greenleaf!”

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Greenleaf season 5

It Is hard to believe that after five seasons the upcoming season of OWN’s hit series, “Greenleaf,” will be its last. For years now we have watched this family and their megachurch grow, fall, change, and fight all in the name of family, dignity, and God.

Now, it is time to say goodbye, but before the season premiere airs tomorrow we were privileged to be able to chat with a few cast members of the Greenleaf during a Vimeo roundtable press conference! Yep Merle Dandridge (Grace Greenleaf), Keith Davidson (Bishop James Greenleaf), Lynn Whitfield (Pastor Mae Greenleaf), Lamman Rucker (Jacob Greenleaf), and Deborah Joy Winans (Charity Greenleaf), and the series’ creator/director, Craig Wright were all there and we got the details for this amazing final season!

Greenleaf season 5

Before the press conference we were allowed to screen the first two episodes of the upcoming season and needless to say they are riveting! You will find the Greenleaf Family collectively faces the end of an era with power and ownership of Calvary shifting to Harmony & Hope (H&H). Individually, Grace faces a tragic setback in her relationship with her estranged son, AJ, Kerissa and Jacob play chess as they move towards an impending divorce, Mae and The Bishop move forward with their wedding plans and the next chapter of their lives, and Charity has become the black sheep of her family, viewed as a traitor by her mother and sister while raging against Phillip Demars for spurning her and choosing Judy Whitmore. Whether the Greenleafs can pull it together to somehow save Calvary–and see their family through harrowing times–remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, they won’t go down without a fight!

Greenleaf season 5

The cast was asked questions by various publications sand touched on how the show has helped humanize church leadership, which storylines besides their own are the most invested in, and even behind the scenes hijinks we never knew anything about.

You can catch the full interview by clicking this link https://vimeo.com/428978269 and using the following password: PressEvent4Greenleaf.

Greenleaf season 5

We hate to see Greenleaf ending, but the news of a spinoff has us glowing. We are sure this is not the last we have seen of this family. You all be sure to tune into season premiere of Greenleaf, tomorrow night, Tuesday at 9/8 PM EST/CTR!

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Celebrity Interviews

Actor Turned “Monster Savior,” Meet “October Faction’s” Gabriel Darku!

The world needs saving from things that go “bump in the night,” thankfully there are people for that.  Enter “October Faction!” “October Faction” is a series based on a family of monster hunters, The Allens; Fred, Deloris, and their twins Geoff and Viv. The family’s unusual lives take a turn for the worst when a dangerous and supernatural figure from their past forces family secrets to the light. 

The show has been met with rave reviews in large part to the story line and amazing cast, including the handsome, talented actor who portrays “Geoff Allen,” Gabriel Darku!

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gabriel darku

The world needs saving from things that go “bump in the night,” thankfully there are people for that.  Enter “October Faction!” “October Faction” is a series based on a family of monster hunters, The Allens; Fred, Deloris, and their twins Geoff and Viv. The family’s unusual lives take a turn for the worst when a dangerous and supernatural figure from their past forces family secrets to the light. 

The show has been met with rave reviews in large part to the story line and amazing cast, including the handsome, talented actor who portrays “Geoff Allen,” Gabriel Darku!

Gabriel hails from what most of us Americans would consider “The Mysterious Beyond,” having been born in Saint John, New Brunswick and raised in Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. He always knew he wanted to be someone great, and was known for being highly athletic as a national level gymnast. However, he found his calling as an actor, beginning with school theater and later studying at The Toronto Film School. “I always had a love for it [acting] and began to realize this was what I wanted to do with my life…I can’t say it’s been easy but I’ve been really fortunate to have some awesome experiences and do some really amazing work…” That “amazing work” now includes the supernatural thriller, “October Faction.” 

gabriel darku

As aforementioned the series centers around a family of monster hunters, but is set against the backdrop of real world issues and occurrences like racism, sexuality, adoption, and genocide. Gabriel’s character, Geoff, is in fact quite layered being adopted, gay, biracial, and a warlock! “There’s a lot to Geoff! He’s very outgoing, courageous, loving, and loyal. He wants to do the right thing, even if it does not turn out right. However, he can be a little impulsive [he laughs]…” The character of Geoff may very well be one of the best examples of someone who “just so happens to be gay.” The character is never ostracized by his family or friends for being gay, and it is treated as nothing to note. “Geoff is loved and accepted by his family completely. Him being gay is just not a big deal at all. In fact, the only issue he has with being gay comes from his love interest, a closeted gay guy who is actually on the opposite end struggling with his sexuality. Geoff knows who he is and accepts that, and I love that about him…we need to see more stories like him so we can stop equating gay with tragedy. It’s a beautiful, refreshing narrative.”

gabriel darku

The cast of “October Faction” is highly talented and chalked full of veterans–namely Tamara Taylor, J.C. McKenzie, Stephen McHattie, and Wendy Crewson–each of them have been acting for decades. Gabriel reveals he loved working with and learning from them as well as building a familial bond with his castmates. “We really connected on set and I learned a lot from all of them. I mean how could I not, they’ve had these amazing careers and were all so warm and open. Me and my tv sister, Aurora [Burghart], ended up acting just like siblings with the banter and poking fun at each other. It was so nice, I really can’t wait to get back on that set.” Unfortunately it has been announced that Netflix will not renew the series for a second season. 

gabriel darku

Gabriel is definitely a rising star and truly a talented actor. We are looking forward to seeing him in future projects . Geoff advises other actors “to study the craft and not give up. You’re going to hear a lot of no’s, face a lot of rejection, but you can’t take it personally.”

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