Black girl magic is alive and well!
Meagan Good and Tamara Bass are taking their talents into their own hands. In a 10-episode original series for World Star Hip Hop, All That Matters follows Bass’ character, Joy, who is newly engaged to her college sweetheart only for her engagement party to be cut short when her sister drops her daughter off at Joy’s job with a note asking to care for her.
Bass, who’s resume includes Boston Public and Baby Boy, penned the series, while Good (Anchorman 2) serves as one of the show’s producers and co-directors. VIBE spoke with both Alpha ladies for what viewers can expect, how this series portrays black men and most importantly of all, why WSHH?
Your production company is called Krazy Actress Productions. Why that name?
Tamara Bass: When we were coming up with a name for our company, we threw around all these names and Meg said, ‘Why don’t we just call ourselves ‘Krazy Actress’?’ and I was like ‘What?!’(Laughs) But it makes complete sense. Every time we walk into a meeting and we tell people we’re actresses trying to co-direct this project or ‘I wrote this project, I’m producing it, she’s directing it,’ they give us this look like you guys must be crazy. We thought, ‘How appropriate.’ We look at it as there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. If we want to do it, so why not? We embrace the crazy.
What’s the goal?
Meagan Good: What we really wanted to do was bring more stories that have more of our faces, more women stories and more family stories that are from different outlooks and different slices of life. As actresses, these are the things I want to do but haven’t always had the opportunity. Instead of waiting for those opportunities to come or seeing friends who are crazy talented waiting for those opportunities to come, we decided to create them ourselves.
Some might criticize this as another series not portraying a happy black couple. What’s your response?
Bass: I will respond by saying once you continue to watch the series, you will see that this couple is normal. Instead of the typical ‘Have the guy get upset, have him leave’ [scenario], he’s actually like ‘No, we’re going to do this. We’re all in for this experience.’ I wanted to portray a relationship that even if you throw something that’s against the grain at this couple, it doesn’t mean that he has to run. It doesn’t mean that she has to run. It’s ‘How do we figure this out together because us being together isn’t going to change.’
All That Matters will live on World Star Hip-Hop. How do you feel it will be perceived?
Good: There can be a lot of content in the world, whether negative or positive, and really what Tamara and I were looking for was to find a platform where everyone was watching. When I did Anchorman, the producers at Paramount said we need to get [advertisement] on World Star Hip Hop because they have so many people. That’s when I understood the value of how to ensure a high visibility level, and not just that, but people can perceive a lot of negative things. How can we bring light to it? How can we bring positivity to it?
Bass: Of course, there are going to be people who ask us why World Star Hip Hop? There are already going to be a bunch of people who are already frequent World Star visitors and think this is something they’re not going to want to watch. We’re prepared for all that. My thing is, if World Star Hip Hop is trying to change the direction of where they’re going and wanted someone to be the first, why not us?
Sway—who has all the answers—is an executive producer. How did you two get him involved and what does he bring to the project?
Bass: Our relationship goes back about 18 years. He’s like my brother. Sway has always been one to encourage me to create something for myself. Once Meagan and I got together and formulated this production company, I proposed this project to him and he immediately came on board with the financing of the pilot episode and has been a proponent for pushing it. Anything we need in terms of access to his radio audience, him, or whatever we need from him, he’s ready to give.
There’s a line in the trailer where Joy says “I’m not built for this.” Will viewers see Joy showcase more vulnerability?
Bass: The idea behind that line is we as black women have this idea we can handle anything. We just put on our cape and we sail through, but one of my best friends always says ‘It’s okay to hang up your cape.’ It’s okay to tell the world, you know what, I don’t have it in me today. I want to show that just because you’re strong, it doesn’t mean asking for help is a sign of weakness. It means you’re strong enough to say I can’t do it.
Good: You’re even more of a woman because you can admit it.
Tell me about the love between Joy and her fiance.
Bass: It’s actually one of my favorite dynamics. Our music supervisor watched the series and the first things he told me was, ‘Thank you for showing a real black man.’ Joy and her fiance have been together for years, and they love each other. I wanted to show a couple that even as they’re weathering this storm, the love between them is there. They’re also not afraid to argue with one another because they know once the argument is done, they’re going to be laying in bed next to one anther. I wanted to show relationships that I see. Not the woman always rolling her neck and cursing the guy out, and he’s always threatening to walk out the door and not come home. We have real love and I want to show it.
Good: Also, we live in a generation where majority of the relationships you see on TV are dysfunctional and disruptive. It was important for us to show there are healthy relationships. So for young men and women watching, they can see another example of what they can be influenced by, versus a lot of the content they already see on TV. Unfortunately, a lot of examples present black men in a horrible light. This was an opportunity for us to do something different and show people there is a whole other side.
What should be the takeaway for viewers?
Good: I would love for people to watch this and see families coming together and people who love each other unconditionally. I want them to have a feeling that you can get through anything and that anything is possible with love and mutual respect.
Bass: I would love for a conversation to start as to what defines family. What defines love? What defines strength? Even with what her sister does, some might say that’s the best decision she could’ve made. She thought she had no the other way and I want people to be able to debate that, even if it starts just one conversation.
Watch the first episode below. All That Matters airs on World Star Hip Hop on Monday, March 9.