The actress on life after Maya and being a new mom.
After an eight-season run on Girlfriends, Golden Brooks was ready to do something completely different, and that turned out to be the psychological horror thriller The Inheritance, which comes out on DVD today, April 12. The movie also stars Keith David, her A Good Man Is Hard to Find costar Darrin Dewitt Henson, and D.B. Woodside, the father of her daughter, Dakota. Here, she dishes about the movie, her sitcom memories, and her life as a new mom.
What is The Inheritance about?
It’s a story about five best friends—cousins—who go back to their uncle’s in the dead of winter for a reunion to collect an inheritance and also connect with their elders. What they don’t know is the elders have another plan. An ancestral slave haunts the cousins and my character is the catalyst for the whole thing. I get impregnated, sort of like in Rosemary’s Baby, and I turn real bad in the end.
What attracted you to it?
After Girlfriends I was ready to spread my wings. I love independent film but I thought, ‘Horror film, black folks are gonna die.’ Then I read it and realized it’s not just a horror film, it’s about our African lineage and teaching the future generations about the sacrifices that were made and not taking for granted the freedoms we have. I thought that was interesting to weave that in, in a thriller.
What was the biggest challenge of the movie?
It was so cold in Minnesota. I’m from San Francisco, where the coldest it gets is 50–60 degrees. I’m a wimp!
Are you in touch with your Girlfriends costars?
Tracee and I text a lot and run into each other at the gym. I always see Jill at auditions. Persia and I keep in touch intermittently. Reggie and I used to be neighbors, but he moved.
What are your favorite memories of the show?
I grew up on that show. It was the first big thing for all of us. We wanted to have fun and do good work. No one was trying to outdo anyone. It was probably the best eight years of my life. It was my job and my passion to make this girl Maya from the other side of the tracks more real, more vulnerable—it was really different for me, and that’s why I wanted to do it. I consider it my biggest break, but not my defining moment. I have so much more in me to do.
I just finished writing a pilot. I have a masters in writing and that’s what I’m tapping into. I wrote an episode of Girlfriends. I have a movie script called Summer’s Moon, about a young girl growing up in San Francisco who’s trying to catch up with her older self and change her future. It plays with time. I want to create films that broaden our creative palette and show women of color in ways you haven’t see us before. It’s also about getting more of us behind the scenes at the studios and getting more studio heads to open their minds.
As a former dancer, do you want to do anything with that?
I would love to. I’ve been studying ballet since I was four. The arts, dance, writing and poetry were a huge outlet for me. I’m in the process of creating an outreach program for inner city girls to expose them to the arts, and raise money for dance, poetry and even travel, to send kids to Africa. I lived there when I was four, in Nigeria, and it stuck with me. A lot of these kids haven’t been outside their neighborhoods.
As a new mom, what are the biggest surprises?
She’s a year-and-a-half and every week it’s something different. I thought she’d be a tomboy but this week she’s playing with mommy’s Louis Vuitton purses. I got her a little purse yesterday. She likes putting things in it and taking things out. My time is not my own anymore. I’m more ambitious in a way that’s less selfish. Before my ambition was about me and what’s next, what can I get? Now it’s about how I can make the world better.
The Inheritance is on DVD Tuesday, April 12.
(Photo: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)