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:: S H O W T I M E  L I V E  C H A T ::
with Pam Grier Feb. 8, 2004


 


sho_moderator: We're sure you have plenty of questions for Pam Grier. Thank you for participating! Pam Grier will be joining us following the episode. PAM GRIER (Kit Porter) began her acting career and achieved fame in the early 1970's when she starred in a series of films including "Coffy," "Foxy Brown," and "Sheba Baby." In the 1990's, she made an impact as the title character in "Jackie Brown," and was honored with Golden Globe(R), Screen Actors Guild, and NAACP nominations. Grier's feature film credits include "Holy Smoke," "In Too Deep," and "Snow Days." She was recently seen starring in the telefilm "First to Die." Good evening everyone. Thanks for logging on. Pam Grier is now ready to begin the chat. Let's get started!

pam_grier: Hi! Whassup? I can't imagine anyone at this very moment is waiting to chat with me. I have the feeling that everyone has their television on the Grammys, and they're saying, 'Pam who?' Maybe two people who can't keep rhythm and don't watch the Grammys.


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 conclusions.

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 they couple.

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 his show.

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 stands for?

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
.



 


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