Numa Perrier is used to calling the shots and lending her creative input to what content will be produced by her immensely popular online web channel, Black&SexyTV. As one of the four founders, Perrier has helped to provide a voice for African American millennials who rarely have an opportunity to see their trials and triumphs play out in the mainstream media. Based on the company’s success on YouTube and syndication on BET, Black&SexyTV landed a coveted development deal with HBO and their show, “The Couple” which also stars Numa, is currently in pre-production.
In the midst of her schedule as a busy mother and entrepreneur, Numa was elated to have the opportunity to be back in front of the camera in the new indie film, “Jerico”.
Despite the fact that it was director Seckeita Lewis’ first time at the helm of a feature film, Numa was drawn to the script written by Lewis’ husband Brandon.
In the film, Numa plays Sweet Georgia Perkins, a character she describes as a feminist who provides some much needed comedic relief in the period piece which takes place in the Jim Crow South.
Numa speaks exclusively with the Sentinel on how she was able to find humor in such serious subject matters as racism and segregation. She also shares invaluable advice for aspiring filmmakers on the importance of creating your own opportunities and getting out of your own way when it comes to following your dreams.
LA Sentinel: With your busy schedule producing for , how did you decide that you wanted to be back in front of the camera for this film?
Numa Perrier: As Brandon [Lewis] was writing the script, he reached out and asked if I would take a look at it when it was finished. He and his wife, Seckeita were fans of my Black &SexyTV show, “The Couple” and he had me in mind for the role as he was writing it. When I read the script, I laughed the entire time; I thought it was such a fun role so I agreed to come on board. We filmed last year and now it’s making it’s festival rounds. In terms of being in front of the camera, that’s something I’m always interested in because I’m an actress first. I was starring in “The Couple” for Black & Sexy then we got the HBO deal and I kind of had to take a back seat because our audience wouldn’t be able to digest me as a different character because they knew me so well from that series as “Chick”. I stopped being in front of the camera for a while. I haven’t been in a major role with Black & Sexy since we moved into the HBO deal with “The Couple” but I have been doing a lot of indie films.
LAS: When you think of the 60s, segregation and the Jim Crow south, it’s hard for many people to fathom making light of such a serious topic. In your role, how were you able to find comedic moments in the midst of the turmoil?
NP: In “Jerico” I play “Sweet Georgia Perkins”, I’m the only woman working at a paper mill. I looked at this role as an act of feminism in that somehow I was able to break the glass ceiling and have a real job in this very male dominated environment. My character ends up being a romantic interest of the lead. I encourage him to pursue his dreams, which includes helping his friend getting the promotion he wants at his job. And that may seem like a simplistic dream but it was a really big deal for that period of time that a black man could step up and take over a job that would easily be given to a white man. I represent someone who’s empowering, I’m a ride or die chick–I help the guys out of dangerous situations. My character brings fun and some levity and comedic relief during their hardships. The film mirrors the era we live in today; it’s a story of survival endurance, standing by your man and finding a way to have joy in your life and not letting the circumstances of your life weigh you down to a point where you can’t find happiness.
LAS: Advice for aspiring filmmakers who are waiting to get their finances in order before creating?
NP: I don’t believe in waiting. A lot of people make a lot of excuses for themselves as if this is the only project they’re ever going to do in their life so it has to be so perfect. If you have a story that you want to tell and you’re truly passionate about it, figure out a way to get it done there are so many ways to do it now and that doesn’t mean the product has to be horrible. You have to continue to hone your craft, gain experience and learn as you go along. If you’re doing nothing at all towards your goals and you say it’s because you don’t have the resources, I find that hard to believe. I’m not saying there won’t be challenges but don’t make excuses.