The Chi has returned to television for Season 3 on Showtime and there are new (but familiar) faces in the mix. In the first episode, fans got to see how show creator Lena Waithe dealt with the departure of Jason Mitchell from the show. Mitchell played the central character, Brandon. Viewers were also treated to singer Luke James who continues to hone his acting chops. He plays Jake’s other brother, Trig. The haunting trailer for Season 3 alludes to many themes, including the abduction of Black girls.
In the second episode for this season, fans will see La La Anthony make her return to the small screen. We last saw her character Keisha killed off in the final season of 50 Cent’s Power. On The Chi, La La plays Dom, a chef who has made a name for herself in the hood.
BET caught up with the host/actor/author/producer/philanthropist to talk about how she’s dealing with the quarantine as a mom, her new project with 50 Cent, and her role on The Chi.
BET: How are you doing as a mom during this quarantine?
La La Anthony: You figure out ways to work with it. Like, whether it's online school for my son, which he is finally done with and he's happy about or finding activities for him to do in the house and just keeping him creative and active and not just sitting in front of a video game all day. For me, I find myself getting a lot of work done, whether it's Zooms and Instagram Lives, there are some days in quarantine where I feel busier than I was when everything was open. We're doing okay obviously with everything going on in the world, but I’m just want to continue to try to use my voice as best I can to bring awareness to help fight for justice for a lot of these families and just really push for change in our country.
BET: You probably got a chance to see Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up routine where he said that he felt like people didn't really want to or need to hear from celebrities and then he changed his mind on that subject. How do you feel about that? Do you feel like you have an additional responsibility in times like this to utilize your platform?
La La: Being a celebrity doesn't make you immune from issues and feelings and thoughts. I'm a human being before that. I wasn't always a celebrity, so I can relate to what anyone is going through in some kind of way so I would always be using my voice, not a celebrity but as a human being. That is just relating to the world and being sympathetic to families who are dealing with all of this, and understanding that at the same time my voice is powerful. So I think I would be doing a huge injustice if I wasn't using my voice to speak out about things to show compassion and show empathy.
BET: You recently were helping out with getting healthy food to first responders back here in New York and New Jersey, right?
La La: Yes, all of the tri-state area. That was important to me. I wanted to make sure that first responders knew they were appreciated and got a home-cooked meal. I partnered up with a company called Eat Clean Bro. It's just our small way of just showing appreciation to them.
BET: Speaking of cooking. we definitely want to know more about your character on The Chi. What can you share with the audience about the character that's not giving away any major plot points?
La La: She's a chef and she's trying to get her business off the ground, which I always laughed about because in real life, I don't cook! But I learned a lot about everything from how to cut to how to hold knives and stuff like that. I started taking a little bit more interest in l cooking, but I'm more excited for people to just see me play a different character. Dom is a woman who was just trying to find her way and she has a talent, which is cooking, but how do you turn that into a successful business? She's been cooking from inside her house, which a lot of people do and trying to expand and just figure it all out. That speaks to a lot of women in the world right now who are trying to balance it all and just thinking about when is it going to be their time to find love or when will it be their time for their business to finally take off. She speaks to that and it's very relatable.
BET: How do you think these experiences have helped shaped you and helped you grow as an actor?
La La: The Chi is a great show. Lena (Waithe) is an incredible writer and showrunner. She's amazing and I was honored to go from working on Power with Courtney Kemp and 50 and then going over there to work with Lena, and just get the whole Chicago experience. It was really really a fun time. Being on Power for six seasons is a long time. I got to understand television and how it works. Being on set everyday, I definitely grew as an actor on Power. Working with so much amazing talent from Naturi (Naughton) to Joseph Sikora to Omari Hardwick to 50. All the people I worked with on Power contributed to a lot of lessons and I learned and continue to grow as an actor.
BET: You’re someone who you're not just in front of the camera, you're also behind it. You have a production company. What are your goals with that one things get a little more back to normal?
La La: I've got a lot of projects set up. I'm working on turning my first book, The Love Playbook into a movie and I'm super excited about that. I have a scripted show called Intercepted which deals with the sports world and all the craziness that goes on behind the scenes with women and their athlete husbands and everything like that. 50 and I both read the book and we loved it, so, we decided to partner and turn it into a television series. I produced The Honeybeez of ASU series on SnapChat. It was about curvy, beautiful women and showing them in such a beautiful light and empowering them and other women out there to feel beautiful and confident in who you are. That's the kind of content that I'm looking for.
Check out the trailer for Season 3 Episode 2 of The Chi: