bruniegrl: I love
the show. How do you and the cast deal with the controversy in the press
over the subject matter?
pam_grier: The subject matter is very easy for
us, and I can only speak for myself, but it's a subject matter that's long
overdue to be explored. As it is being explored and chatted about at water
coolers and at people's homes after the show, people will realize this is a
segment of life that, as we have our show, it will create a comfort zone for
most people and quite possibly a comprehension for those who may not have an
inkling of why someone is gay. And is being gay a choice, or is it more
organic or biological. And interestingly enough, you have had in the past,
through entertainment, through the literary world, through the evolution of
a world that has been predominantly male, speaking of the gay male
community, you have projects produced such as Birdcage, To Wong Foo,
Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight
Guy. You had a marketing and advertising machine geared toward a huge
population that demands attention. If you think about it, there are more
affluent male gay people in the world--the gay male society is extremely
affluent. If you look at all the designers, fashion, furniture, studio
owners, record label owners, there's a huge gay male population that's
wealthier than the female. And people say that it's been easier to watch
women being intimate and holding hands in public in certain societies. Then
why wasn't the L Word produced before Queer as Folk? We're finding out that
women, gay or straight, are not as affluent as men. So as we continue with
the show, various aspects of a gay society will be revealed. And most people
don't realize that people in and out of closets are probably some of the
most outstanding people in our society. And have been long before we began
to count how many and when people began to count. So I can say for most of
us as actors we want to be informed, we want to learn more to be able to
give great depth to our characters and we can never know and learn enough.
pam_grier: I've learned so much more than I
ever could imagine from my research, from my new-found friends who are gay
and bisexual, many negative myths and stereotypes have been shattered, and
as a society learning more we only get stronger as we gain more information.
And as a society, in this democracy, we need information more than anything.
pchic: Hey Girl friend , how did you get your
experience with AA did you research it?
pam_grier: Pchic, not only did I research it
but firsthand I have friends who are in AA, and they're not only from
Hollywood and the industry, but in many other industries, as pedestrian
industries as CEOs to race car drivers to aerobics teachers to some of my
friends in the music industry, and I went to some of the meetings, and I
have literature, and it helped me to understand a lot about my character Kit
and friends of people who do have problems and addictive personalities, and
how can you not be an enabler. So it was great information for me, and
reflecting upon my childhood growing up, moments of absolute fear and
tragedy of certain family members who had problems with drinking. Because
some of my family members are Native American, and for me personally gin is
extremely toxic. I can turn a club or a party out, in fact I did turn my
debutante ball out. My debutante ball gown was turned around, ripped to
shreds, and my maturity and research lets me know that there are some things
in my past that I have to address and watch out for because certain
emotional moments will make me extremely vulnerable.
music: Will the L Word also address the issue
of gay women needing to practice safe sex as sexual diseases are being
passed among them now? I worry about the activities of Shane misleading
young gay women into believing they are safe out there giving them a false
since of security..
pam_grier: I hope they will address it, and I
think they will. I think the producers and everyone are extremely
responsible, and it's not something that they will overlook.
danwad: This show is very emotionally powerful.
What are your thoughts about the responsibility that writers, producers,
directors and actors have regarding the impact they have on society?
pam_grier: Danwad, our impact is reflecting
society. These aren't stories that have never been told and are just
conjured up. A lot of people I think will reflect and have moments of
elation, pain, moments of fear and anxiety from watching the show. We hope
to show a wide cross-section of women, not only this one particular group,
which is a microcosm, but other groups of gay women, who have different
agendas, dress different, and look different. There are even Muslim gay
women, and I think even this season we will have a great storyline about
them being gay and being Islamic. I found a story about these two women in
Toronto who are part of a huge gay population in Toronto and are dealing
with their sexuality and their religion. Because Islamic women--just being a
straight woman is different-- and being gay is even an additional
restriction. And it would be very interesting to see how they explore their
dynamics. And now that there is a neo-gay women's group called Bois, they
are kind of like the Shane character in the show, they are a new group with
a different agenda. We hope to reflect and not pontificate or preach but
strictly entertain and allow everyone to have the freedom to make their own
tkzoo: Your career has had such longevity, do
you attribute that to taking chances on roles that have an edge to them?
pam_grier: No I've just been lucky! TKZoo, I
like reinventing myself and my characters to not be predictable, and kind of
reflect who Pam would be in the time. In other words, not being stuck in a
time warp and always being curious about what is happening around me, and
breaking stereotypes. Most casting and producers who don't get out of their
world much assume that I'm from an urban environment, and not even reading
my bio and knowing my military upbringing. I've had an international
education. From military bases, urban projects (like Cabrini Green), and
then family's rural farms where we would be in the rodeos, I'd ride horses,
I'd drive the John Deere tractors, and my family is from part of the black
West. I'd rather be riding a horse when I'm not working. My best friend is
Wilford Brimley, the cowboy actor and the Quaker Oats pitchman. We talk
rodeo-riding and roping.
wildkat69: Do you think it's unfair for the
show to be criticized for using straight actors to play lesbians
pam_grier: Of course it is. However, there is
one actor who is gay and playing a bisexual. There could be other actors in
the show who are gay but who have chosen not to come out. And we do have
other actors in the show, and writers and producers, who are gay, but that
is not the issue. There are a lot of gay actors who play straight characters
and should be allowed to.
lady: Pam I know the Blacksploitation movies
have a bad rap... but they were important to young Black children, like
me... Do you have any regrets about your work in them?
pam_grier: Lady, not at all. The term
Blackspoitation was a marketing term, and we reflected on a subject matter
of action and all they wanted to do was get films to the black community,
which for me was short-lived, I only did four of them. Coffee, Foxy Brown,
Sheba, and Friday Foster. And it was the first time a woman was allowed to
be a lead and a heroine, which was very important for everyone to se because
in our communities our mothers, our grandmothers were the greatest of heroes
and heroines, and were overlooked in historical books and documents and in
society, period. Men just didn't recognize what women had done and could do.
So it was very important to see women on equal ground. And it was very
important to see me riding a Kawasaki Jet ski in Sheba Baby. And to know that
black women, and white women who weren't as active then, could ski and scuba
dive and do things that they didn't expect us to do. Because growing up I
was not allowed to join 99% of the Girl Scout troops because of racism. I
remember trying to get into some troops and going back and getting my aunts
and uncles to say, 'We hunt and camp, and we'll teach you.' You'll be your
own Girl Scout, in a way. There were so many things I was shut out of
growing up, so many groups and organizations I was shut out of because of
race. The women's movement, by the time I was a teen, was really opening up
the door for all of us. It was helping women to accept each other. There was
a sisterhood that rose up from the oppression and just made different
changes. So to document where I have been was a positive thing.
latinamimi2: Pam, what do you think about the
backlash ag. Janet Jackson?
pam_grier: Latinamimi2, well, the backlash
represents a cross-section of thinking in America. Sometimes what you
personally accept, others don't, and the responsibility is the
entertainer's, to know 'Is this something I should do?' With error, or if it
works, in a sports event, where there are a lot of children and families
watching, can I ensure there won't be any accidents? And if I can't, is this
something I can do? Would Janet do that in front of her children? So I think
if everyone asks themselves, was this appropriate, or was this a mistake?
She has apologized, and she is quite conservative, if you look at the
history of her shows, she has never done anything this extreme, and knowing
her personally, I think it was an error and it was embarrassed. If anything,
they should have sympathy for her, I would, but that's not the case. We're
always going to have a cross-section of opinion and it will never be
settled, it will never be resolved. It's unfortunate that there is so much
angst over the incident. I mean, when Diana Ross patted Lil Kim's breast,
when Lil Kim had a pasty on her nipple, the brouhaha was not as intense, and
it was at a family hour. So maybe it was because a man ripped off the
fabric, and if it was a malfunction I don't know. I just think it was at a
family time and some people might find that inappropriate. I was hoping
Justin would rip off his shirt! Or pants.
wer2girlsinlove: Pam, was there a reaction from
the cast after the Massachusetts court decision earlier this week?
pam_grier: I don't know, I haven't spoken with
them! We're trying to get in touch with one another because our show was
picked up for another season. I'll be seeing them tomorrow, and of course
that issue will come up, and we'll talk about it and hopefully we can
incorporate some reality stories into our scripts regarding the issue. It
will be more widely talked about and discussed in every home across America
and the world because these issues are important to people, people who have
families and need the equal opportunity protection, rights, protection of
heterosexual couples. Until people get that consideration in every state,
there's going to be an intensity in acquiring, exploring litigation. The
fight is on. Whatever it takes for people to win rights that they need when
q_tip: Pam you do a great job on the show. When do we get to hear you sing?
pam_grier: Q-tip, I will get to sing in
episodes 110 and 111, the episodes in which Snoop Dog appears, and he
samples one of Kit's songs. In episode 9 I will be writing a song that I
play for my son in the show. I hope to play as much as I can, play
keyboards, I'll play percussion, I'll play drums, I'll keep my nails short I
promise, to play the guitar, and hope to invite other musical guests to the
show, gay and straight. Overall, Kit's world was the music of the 80s, and
the song I sampled was by Angela Winbush, and it was 'It's the Real Thing.'
She at one time had married Ron Isley of the Isley brothers. And Angela
WInbush was a prolific songwriter of the eighties. Her peers were the late
Minnie Ripperton, Chaka-Khan, Patrice Rushin, and DOnna Summers. She wrote
half of the Isley Brothers' songs. Wrote most of their songs.
suncolors21: Hi Pam, I heard you are going on
tour with Snoop Dog? What will you be doning? I hope to see you!
pam_grier: Suncolors21, I've asked Snoop, I've
begged him to play drums in his show, his summer concert. I told him--he's
travelling with a band--and I know most of his songs, and we already talked
about it, and if I get some time off, and I can find the city he's in, I'll
sit in with him, and I'll play. And just have fun for a couple of songs in
deborahl: I heard that the cast goes into the
messages board, do you go in and read the fans comments
pam_grier: No, I don't. I haven't had the time.
I have been working on a musical of my life, the book of my life, writing
songs for The L Word, doing a movie last summer after The L Word with Ja
Rule and Ving Rhames and Frank Langella. I'm about to do two movies before I
start the next L Word season which begins May 29. I don't get any sleep.
dddpiston1: Hi Pam. You have been in the
business a very long time. Does fame feel different today than it did 20
plus years ago?
pam_grier: DDD, does it feel different? No.
Fame is, for me, much of trying to comprehend why people make such a fuss
over it, and why do I have to dress up and act grown up? All I know is if
someone says, 'You've done well,' then I know I have to do better than that.
I have to continue to do better, continue to grow, for myself, and hope I am
interesting enough for others to appreciate. I would hate to bore any of
you. Especially my mama.
reignofcain: What do you think the L word
pam_grier: Living the Life you Love and Loving
the Life you Live.
jesslisa99: Pam, I saw Showtime picked up the
"the L word" for another season. Congratulations. How would you like to see
your character grow in the up coming year.
pam_grier: My character, Kit, has a lot in her
past, her very chequered past, that will catch up to her. I hope, and I
know, that it will give my character depth and dimension that creates the
challenge and, for me, the performance that I need to feel that I have
reached the level of performance I need to feel that I have-- because the
character Kit--there isn't always resolution in real life. There will be
mistakes that Kit has to live with and pain that Kit has to live with every
day. Often the actor has to carry that pain with her. That will be the level
of performance that I will feel very grateful to have and be satisfied as
the actor. It could be bittersweet all the way. And I'll find myself in AA
at the end of the season! As long as I don't drink any gin I'll be okay.
sho_moderator: Any closing comments?
pam_grier: I hope you enjoy the winter season
and extreme skiing and snowboarding. Good health for all. Watch The L Word
and continue asking questions and being curious. When you stop being curious
you stop growing and you stop living.