Tasia Grant of BRICKED talks the Angry Black Woman Stereotype and Identity {Pt 2 of Interview}

TG: Part of the problem is that we have lost the sense of everybody in the family sitting down together at the table. There is no time for this discussion. The other thing is women are often misread, when we express anger or discontent.  “You are just an angry black woman.” It’s an easy scapegoat. Instead of thinking there is something greater going on here.  This person is mentally not able to make rational decisions. It is easier.

ATM: If a black male or female uses curse words in their speaking, then they are deemed ratchet. If a white person uses curse words, then they are deemed hilarious. “Oh my God, they are so humorous.” No one wants the “Angry woman stereotype.” As a black woman, you must present yourself more delicately to be accepted by your race and other races.

This is the same thing for the black mother. Typically, with parents, and as a black parent you go through a different set of things. It is the thing of crying at night and waking up in the morning with a smile. You wipe your tears and realize you have a child to raise. In society the black mother and black father are misunderstood and the realities of what they encounter are not concentrated on heavily by the media.

TG: It is both. The thing is, both parents are trying to figure it out. Both the mother and the father do not know the right things to do in all matters of life. Also, in this situation. ‘“I know I am smart and educated, but if I am in a meeting and sound passionate about something, then a white person could say “No I disagree with this.”’ If I disagree, then I am combative. So, as a result, knowing I know my stuff, and am very confident, I feel I must keep my opinion to myself because it will not be received as intended. Then, this is what starts to happen. I start to retreat. It is the same thing when we have mental conditions. People feel like if they admit it or say something, then they must retreat. It keeps getting worse. A lot of times it is our arrogance. “I have it all together. I cannot possibly be crazy.” You can be walking around looking normal to the outside.   When coming home, you raise hell.

ATM: You only see your true self when looking in the mirror. It is interesting how our only representation of seeing “self” is through pictures, videos, and the mirror. We as human beings cannot physically face ourselves. You can lie to everyone else, but you cannot lie to yourself. Even if you do lie to yourself, then it just does not feel right.

TG: Exactly. The person you have to face in silence is the real you. When you have to face your real thoughts, feelings, this is where the truth lies. Sometimes it is in these moments when the truth comes out that you do not have it under control. There is something there. Trevor to the outside world is a cute and guy. They did not know he was going home raising hell. For the mother to protect Trevor from the outside world, she sees one thing. The outside world sees another thing. This is a disservice because he could end up being harmful to himself and others. I know someone who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. We used to joke and taunt that person because they were extremely paranoid.  Imagine how insensitive we felt when we realized they were diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is how our community handles it.  We stop at feeling bad or guilty, instead of saying “You have to get help. You cannot stay here.  And it is necessary and not optional because I love you.”

ATM: Society tries to put them away and put it in the box. Also, to push it away from the media. Why isn’t this handled in the media more? This film ‘Bricked’ wakes it back up.  It is a touchy subject for anyone.

TG: If we do not address it, then we are going to have more people in our community who are a danger. Fostering mental illness makes us endanger ourselves and people.  We have tough love for everything else. Why can’t we have tough love for mental illness? She realizes she cannot do it anymore.

ATM: As a parent when raising a child from a newborn, toddler stage, to adolescence – you have a deep, hearted connection. You are sometimes oblivious to seeing them as an adult. You see the little boy. This creates the enabling. “Aw, my little Trevor does not have a problem.”

TG: It is also constant denial. As parents we blame ourselves. So, to admit that your child has a dysfunction, disability, or disadvantage, then it makes you question “Did I do this? Was it my genes? Did I drink while pregnant?” If you acknowledge it, then it might mean you are admitting to some faults.  This is where the selfishness and being self-absorb comes into play. I can say this as a parent. Sometimes the selfishness gets meshed in with caring for your child. “I do not want to admit something is wrong,” because perhaps that is a reflection on me and my parenting.  Unfortunately, this comes from our society being so concerned with how we look, how we are perceived by the outside.

Thank you for asking me for the interview. This is very impressive. I am happy about speaking on this topic. It is a phenomenal film and not just because of the subject matter. Not to praise myself, but we have a fantastic cast. They embodied the characters. I feel so connected when I watch it.  I am so proud to be a part of this piece. I do a lot of dramatic work, but I love doing comedy. It’s fun, but it’s so good when you get the piece you can sink your teeth into. You are not only able to do your art and craft, you can live out your purpose. As an actor, my goal is to connect with at least one person. I am a theatre actress as well.

If one person comes up to me saying “oh my God, this is my life. I can relate to this,” then I have done my job.  This is touching a lot of people more than we think.  I have to thank God for this, for letting me use my craft and my artistry to affect and educate people in a positive way. Also, to give people incentive and the courage to finally address it. As an actor, I have more than done my job. As a person, I have more than fulfilled my purpose. I am blessed with being able to do something that I love. I am grateful for this character. I am grateful for the director Aleshia for trusting me with Cynthia. I let God use me, and he did. He is using all of us collectively to serve a greater purpose and greater good.

ATM: In this sense, God is using you as a vessel. He reigns his gifts and passion inside you. I would assume sometimes in your acting you say, “I did not know I could do this.” It is you, but it is not you, for the most part, it is God working through you.

TG: Absolutely. Go head girl. My aunt saw it in DC. and said she learned a lot from it and loved it. She said that one of her friends said he wished he had known about the movie, because his daughter was recently diagnosed with bipolar condition.  The biggest compliment as an actor is if a film or show affected you, in some way, helped you to feel or understand something, it provided a release, it made you think, it made you smile, or how about it was the first time you smiled all day. Thanks for giving us a chance to pour into you. I am excited about this. How did you find out about us, the movie, etc.? How did this come about?

ATM: Research, and I found the topic intriguing and important. TG: I appreciate it. The distributors are seeing how Bricked is being exposed and received. It is pivotal for us to get exposure for the film.  People want to know about it. God is going to have his hands over all of this. This piece cannot stop here. I know it cannot. Talking about him using me as a vessel? Girl, he might be using you as a vessel for us to be able to get exposure so it can be out there