Series Co-Star, Loren Lott, Explores Colorism in the Entertainment Industry
BET+ and Broadcasting Corportation (CBC) have come together to release a new series, “The Porter”, which highlights the creation of a 1920s Black workers union in St, Antoine, Montreal – previously known as the “Harlem of the North”.
Inspired by real life events, the new series follows a group of about five characters who hustle, move mountains, and stop at nothing to make their dreams come true, fighting for the much-deserved liberation of themselves and their people.
The show is a gripping story of empowerment and idealism that represents railway workers from both Canada and United States, following each of the characters as they navigate life, while the Porters’ fight to establish the first Black Worker’s Union.
Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit as the world rebuilds after World War I, “The P
The Porter brings life to the character of Lucy Conrad (Lott), a Black woman who is chasing a dream in show business of being a famous star. The “unbelievably ambitious” Lucy is a woman who is close to the porters and performs at a club that they frequently convene at.
The show also brings awareness to the issue of colorism in the Black community during this time.
“[Lucy] runs into several trials in her career due to her color,” Lott said. While the character has extreme hopes and dreams of becoming a star, singing and dancing is not always available to her when lighter skinned Black people were favored to perform. “[She] has a rough life but, through everything, her want to be a star pushes her to keep going.”
As a successful related through Lucy’s character through song and dance. “It’s [sing and dance] all she wants to do, and I get that. Coming from the Broadway world that’s what I thought I’d be doing before I decided to dabble in TV and film, so I definitely get the want to do something that is bigger than yourself and where you come from.”
Lott and Lucy, share a “hunger” for making their dreams come true. While her character does not always make the best decisions and described as occasionally toxic in order to accomplish her aspirations, the actress hopes that the audience will be able to see her soft heart.
“Her hunger is bigger than her feelings. She feels but she acts first. She also wants love.”
The 1920’s carried in a new level of Black Cultivation, such as the strength in the Harlem Renaissance. Lott affirmed within her role of Lucy, the multi- dimensional talent found in Black women during that era. Lucy’s storyline is “wild and fun”, as well as a favorite of the producers due to who she has the potential to be.
What intriguedLott to “The Porter” was the acknowledgement of colorism in the Black community. The struggles of Lucy’s life had led her to become the person depicted in the show . Lott described how, because of her dark skin, Lucy was continuously pulled apart, seen as less than and even told she “blacker than coal”.
However, the character refused to let people’s opinions stop her. Lott explained “growing up she [Lucy] goes through a lot…she’s been treated as the underdog, but she is not the underdog. Life has treated her as one, but she always knew she was more.”
When asked about the challenges that came with playing the role of Lucy, Lott discussed the diligence and demanding work that came with turning into her character:
“There was about two months of rehearsals, learning how to dance like you’re from the twenties, learning choreography [for Lucy’s performances], and lessons on how to imitate a Canadian accent sprinkled with American pieces.”
With the work being vigorous, Lott also described this challenge as being the best part of her experience and the most fun. Her years on Broadway gave her the skill and drive to “kill” her performances in both singing and dancing.
Lott shared that the entire production team were unified in creating the authenticity of “The Porter”. It was most rewarding for her to see that their work had been accomplished in the series.
“We all worked so hard…to look back and see that this world that we created was so real, watching it come together, and then the trailers…seeing everything work out was extremely rewarding.”
The actress hopes that, in the end, characters will be able to see Lucy’s heart and be able to relate to the many sides of her. She also aspires for The Porter’s audience to understand the desperation of a woman willing to do anything to make her dreams come true.
Lott sees herself potentially going back to Broadway as her next move, but also says other opportunities are coming her way. She is just waiting to see what is next.
She hopes that by watching The Porter, people will understand that it is okay to be desperate and make mistakes when it comes to constructing their best life . “Lucy sometimes being toxic does not make her who she is. If life did not give her the circumstances and situations of her life, she wouldn’t be who she is…which a lot of us can relate to!”
The Porter is set to premiere on CBC Television February 21, 2022.