Loretta Devine has enjoyed a successful acting career, playing beloved characters in Waiting to Exhale, For Colored Girls, the Broadway production of Dreamgirls, and a growing list of television shows. Her latest project is portraying comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s mother in the new series The Carmichael Show, which is inspired by Carmichael’s relationship with his family.
In a recent interview with MadameNoire, the 66-year-old actress opened up about her film career playing a variety of fun and challenging roles — including her first lesbian role in the upcoming season of Being Mary Jane — and her thoughts on whether she sees positive changes taking place on the diversity front.
“For this season, I think people are working who haven’t worked in a long time. Black people got paid who haven’t been paid in a long time. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of seasons. But right now, some of the hit shows on [TV] have Black, female leads. And that is truly different,” Devine said.
“I’m just glad to be alive today. It’s a phenomenon! All of a sudden, every white guy you see got a Black girlfriend. That’s what we’re doing now,” she continued. “The sistas, all of a sudden, are in. Now, it’s going to be interesting to see how they write the sistas because a lot of the writers are clueless as to how Black women even talk, think or whatever. But they’re trying to figure it out. So, thank God we have a future on the horizon. We have a whole flock of directors now. Regina King, Debbie Allen, Mario Van Peebles, [Ava] DuVernay, Lee Daniels. We own TV stations now, Oprah Winfrey with her OWN. It’s amazing things that can come out of all of this.”
Regardless of what may come, Devine admits that in some ways she’s a lot like Carmichael’s religious mother, and turns to the man upstairs to ease her anxieties.
“Now, that I’m even older you go, ‘Oh God, what possibly could I do next?’ But it’s all about what people create, the jobs, the energy and I have such a great relationship with God. He always hooks me up,” Devine said. “So I need not worry about anything. It’s so stupid to do that. I know he’s like, ‘How much do I have to prove to you?’ And so that’s how I feel. God’s got me. I don’t know about you. I’m just excited about everything that’s going on in my life right now and I hope it continues.”
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(Photo: All Access Photo/Splash News/Corbis)