Laughing Through Their Tears

Laughing Through Their Tears

When all else fails, girlfriends lift each other up.

Published June 23, 2008

ent_terrivaughn.jpg When all else fails, girlfriends lift each other up.

That's very much the case in "Angels Can't Help But Laugh," a documentary produced by award-winning actress Terri J. Vaughn that chronicles the plight of black actresses in Hollywood.

Vaughn, best known for her work as Lovita Jenkins in "The Steve Harvey Show," said she got the idea for her film while watching a Rosanna Arquette documentary on the issues aging women face in Hollywood. "I loved it," Vaughn said, "but our voices weren't heard."

So, Vaughn sat down at her computer and emailed more than 35 black actresses and asked them to be a part of her project. Twenty-five of them responded including: Tichina Arnold, Vanessa Williams, Meagan Good, Essence Atkins, Regina King, Jasmine Guy, Kym Whitley, Dawnn Lewis, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tasha Smith, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Paula Jai Parker. Vaughn was hoping to sell the film to BET or TV-1, but both passed.

"I thought that was a no-brainer," she said.

She is currently dotting the "i's" on a deal with a DVD distribution company.  The film is available now, however, at www.angelscanthelpbutlaugh.com.

"I just thought people would love to hear our stories," said Vaughn who will next appear on screen in Tyler Perry's "Daddy's Little Girls." "I think our fans would like to know what keeps us going, how we keep our marriages going, how we feel guilty when we have to leave our kids and how we manage in between jobs. The bottom line is that we have to keep it moving and this film shows the support we give each other."

Vaughn said she was surprised that it took so long for "Angels" to get a distribution deal--especially after being well-received on the festival circuit. "Because it's about black women, a lot of people weren't too quick to jump on board," she said. But the bigger surprise was "how many people said yes."

Vaughn, who also recently got remarried before giving birth to her second son, has also sold a film she's written to studio in Mississippi. It's called "Chances Are." Vaughn will produce it or her Nina Holiday banner and star in it as well.  "It's a romantic comedy," she said. "Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl and gets her back. It's fun and silly and light and happy."

Written by Miki Turner

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