Lamman Rucker Talks Tyler Perry, Positive Images Of Black Men In Film & TV

Lamman Rucker first began captivating hearts on the small screen when he appeared on TV shows like, Half & Half and All My Children in the early 2000s. But it wasn’t until he played Sheriff Troy, the chocolate hunky hero in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, that he really got his female fan base’s full attention. But once all the ogling is done it’s easy to see that beyond Rucker's physical appearance he has a heart of gold and real talent to match.

Still high on the success of his latest movie release this month, N-Secure, Rucker also just started taping the new season of Meet The Browns. The 39-year old actor also has a bath and bodyline in the works and is working on an off-Broadway play about the Tuskegee Airmen called Black Angels Down. Rucker says he’s simply emulating one of his idols, Paul Robeson, when it comes to artistry, activism and creating more positive images of Black men in the media. VIBE caught up with him to find out why he works so well with Tyler Perry, The Boondocks spoof and working with Kim Fields. ⎯Starrene Rhett

VIBE: What was it about Tyler Perry’s work that drew you to his projects?

Lamman Rucker: I’m all about black folks working together and progressing together. I think it’s very important to work collaboratively and cooperatively with one another so I found Tyler’s work and his overall vision is something that I felt in alignment with. Even though I wasn’t as familiar with his stage plays gradually hearing people buzz about that; he fact that he was getting people into the theater⎯Black folks don’t always go to the theater. Being raised in the theater I also knew had the times when I was doing the plays, especially theatrical drama or in the American classics there weren’t a lot of black folks in the theater so this particular genre that made Tyler popular, I saw value in it, in that it was touching the lives of people from our community. People from our community were identifying with it— it had a message and relevance. And most of the images although there were some negative ones overall I thought he was doing a good job of trying to represent black men in a positive light. So I take a lot of pride in the choices that I’ve made and that people feel I’m worthy of portraying some of the men created whether it’s Troy or Will.

The multi-faceted Black man.

I always try to bring some kind of relevance and some positive image of who and what we are as far as what we’re capable of being as Black men, so that’s why I feel like Tyler and I are on the same page. I think he’s doing the best he can to be a positive Black man and to show that he’s been blessed and he’s got talent and a gift and he has a responsibility to share that with other people and creating opportunities for other people. So I was very excited to share that legacy building an incredible institution that Tyler Perry Studios has become. It’s an honor. It’s great to go to work and your boss is a Black man one of your peers, you know? He’s only a couple of years older than me and he’s pretty much running he show. And Tyler doesn’t try to act like he knows everything. He’s like, ‘Let me bring somebody in here who knows how to do this better than I do so we have a very efficient place that’s very productive.” It’s great people to work with, it’s fun, we get the job done and obviously people are responding, audiences are responding, advertisers are responding. Everybody enjoys working together— it’s a great environment.

Does Tyler Perry favor improv or is he more by the script? Describe his style.

I think it’s a little bit of both and that’s what’s so fun about working with Tyler is that he obviously has the work and I’m finding that when he writes, he writes things pretty fast. He can knock stuff out in a couple of days and then he goes back, tweaks the script and has this revision process but a lot of times the script that we have in hand creates a new life of its own. Tyler does a good job of enabling his actors to bring what they bring. He’s told me a couple of times, ‘Why the hell you think I got you here? I know what I’m doing.’ Then there’s other times where he’s like, ‘Lamman just say it exactly how I want you to say it. I know what I’m doing.’ So there’s that kind of balance between trusting him sometimes and knowing when to trust yourself. And there are times where Tyler throws a wrench in the scene. He’ll whisper something in a another actor’s ear, we start the scene and they’ll say something that’s not in the scene. Tyler knows I’m sharp enough to stay in character and pick up on it and react accordingly.

So you never know what to expect…

There are definitely places where any character at any time has a little room to really have some fun and really use their own creativity and spontaneity and improvisational skills at any given moment. Sometimes we discover things that might make the scene even better. Again, based on what we as actors bring to it that adds an additional layer to what the director or the writers might do. So it’s a cooperative of things. There are times where Tyler comes in and sprinkles a little bit of his magic and then the rest is up to you. And then there’s times where he’s much more direct and hands on so I think he does a nice balance between the two.

What are your thoughts about the controversial Boondocks spoof that people believe is based on Tyler Perry?

I never saw it and I’m happy about that because no disrespect to you, but I think it’s a waste of time to even talk about it. But the real issue is I never had the chance to see it so my only statement would be, I can’t comment on it. But as long as the intent was malicious then I’m not in support of people who try to maliciously harm anybody. But at the same time, this is America and everybody has the right to voice and to have an opinion and to have their commentary on things and people.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson Criticized For Comparing R. Kelly And Harvey Weinstein

Taraji P. Henson is under fire after she appeared to compare the backlash and response surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein. Henson seemed to question why Kelly was being slammed more than Weinstein, and Twitter users were not happy about her argument to say the least.

Henson shared her thoughts on her Instagram Stories on Tuesday (Jan. 22). She shared a series of videos, first of her looking up the hashtag and fan pages under "Mute R. Kelly." To no surprise, she found a handful of pages advocating for the complete dismissal of R. Kelly.

I love me some Taraji but GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLLLAAAAAAAA. Make it make sense.

— sie (@NOPussBoys_) January 22, 2019

She then searched for similar tags and pages for Weinstein, but was unsuccessful. She also looked up pages under his full name to no avail. Henson then shared an emoji along with a simple "hmmm." The message suggested that she was confused as to why Weinstein and Kelly – both of whom have been accused of sexually abusing dozens of women through their career – were not receiving the same backlash. It appeared her argument regarding the discrepancy might have something to do with race.

Twitter users were not persuaded by Henson's thesis however. Surviving R. Kelly show-runner, dream hampton promptly responded to Henson's story, saying, "no idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more." Others criticized the actress for not acknowledging the black women and girls who had allegedly been abused by Kelly throughout the years.

While there may not be pages about muting Weinstein on Instagram, the Hollywood mogul is facing consequences for his heinous actions. Weinstein was forced to step down from his company, and he was arrested in May 2018 and charged with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women." He later made bail but was mandated to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.

Check out the Twitter reactions to Taraji P. Henson's comments below.

No idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more.

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

All of us watching Taraji’s instastory

— Kayla Marie (@Maria_Giesela) January 22, 2019


— fads (@azuIair) January 22, 2019

Yall.....Taraji P Henson done lost her entire mind....I...

— future librarian ♏️ (@blkbravado) January 22, 2019

Harvey Weinstein has been booked, charged, etc. the purpose of #MuteRKelly is to silence his music. For him to be held accountable for his actions. I really need taraji to know better. Unbelievable.

— Krissy Brierre-Davis (@krissys_kitchen) January 22, 2019

Taraji is dumb ass bricks. She really tried to compare mute R. Kelly hashtags to Mute Harvey Weinstein! News flash, Taraji, Harvey is about to go to trial. There are people willing to testify against him. His businesses and career are DONE! R. Kelly is still out here functioning!

— Where Is Yo Scoota? Where Is It?! (@AshleyShyMiller) January 22, 2019

Taraji, why?

— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) January 22, 2019

1. Why would “Mute” apply to people who aren’t in the music industry?2. Weinstein has several documentaries coming about his allegations. 3. Weinstein is also going to trial over his allegations. 4. Between Taraji and Erykah “What Men Want” is a no go.

— M’BlockU (@rodimusprime) January 22, 2019

I wanna have a conversation about women Taraji's/Erykah's age and their obsession with "being a man's peace/shield/sponge because society brings them down enough" but I've already hit my 1 thread a day limit.

— Mári 🇵🇷 (I'm Black. This isn't hard.) (@_ItsMarisWorld_) January 22, 2019


Continue Reading
Getty Images

Kelly Rowland Becomes Gladys Knight For 'American Soul'

Kelly Rowland will reprise a multi-episode role as Gladys Knight on BET's newest series, American Soul.

The forthcoming series explores Don Cornelius' journey to creating Soul Train, the first nationally-syndicated show centered around black music, chronicling the uphill battling with record labels and off-camera drama with dancers, artists and more. The '70s set also painted pictures of the racially charged issues that plagued that generation.

It's almost as if the black entertainment channel is creating a Destiny's Child reunion, because Michelle Williams has been announced as the series' Diana Ross.

In a first look clip provided to VIBE, Cornelius is seen pitching the idea to a seemingly uninterested Knight (Rowland). The Chi-town DJ wants to create a show centered around black singer, dancer and performers.

"I’m talking about a national television show written, produced, and owned by black folks. I’m talking about bringing us — not whitewashed, not toned down, but us — into millions of homes, like it or not,” Cornelius' character says to Knight. Non-spoiler alert: Knight would eventually go on to be the first guest on Soul Train if history is any indication.

American Soul will premiere Feb. 5 on BET at 9 pm ET/PT on BET. Watch Kelly Rowland bring Gladys Knight's character to life in American Soul above.

Continue Reading
Getty Images/ Carlos Alvarez

Spike Lee Earns Six Academy Award Nominations For 'BlacKkKlansman'

It’s been long overdue, but Spike Lee is finally an Oscar-nominated director for 2018’s acclaimed BlacKkKlansman. In addition to being nominated for Best Director, Lee earned six nominations in total, The Los Angeles Times reports.

According to CNN, the Brooklyn director will compete against Black Panther, Green Book, VICE, A Star Is Born and Netflix’s Roma for the Best Picture category. Adam Driver who stars in BlacKkKlansman alongside John David Washington is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The film is also being nominated for Best Adapted Screen Play, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score.


View this post on Instagram



A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Jan 22, 2019 at 7:00am PST

In 1990, Lee was nominated for Best Original Screenplay of his classic Do The Right Thing and in 1998 he was nominated for Best Documentary for 4 Little Girls. Previously, Lee has been critical of the Academy for its lack of diversity in their nominations. In 2016, when Hollywood experienced a boycott for the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Lee spoke about the conundrum with a grain of salt.

"We talk about the lack of diversity at the Oscars almost every year. Last year people were calling me about Selma and now they are calling me again," he told VIBE. "Every 10 years we get the nominations….but the other nine years we get a drought. But I had to learn the hard way. If your sh*t is good it’s going to stand the test of time. I have to draw up my own history with Do The Right Thing. You know what film won Best Picture in 1989?"

Lee also earned an honorary award at the Academy in 2015. The Oscars will take place on Feb. 24 at The Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Continue Reading

Top Stories