Tasha Smith & Michael Jai White The “For Better or Worse” Interview
A dedicated and consummate performer, Tasha Smith is known for bringing style and intense character portrayals to the screen. Her outstanding performances have garnered universal acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Tyler Perry was so impressed with her stellar work that he cast her to star in three of his films, including Daddy’s Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married? and its sequel, Why Did I Get Married Too?
More recently, Tasha co-starred in the #1 box office hit romantic comedy Couples Retreat, and she has also hosted her own talk show for the Oxygen Network, Smith Vision. When not appearing in movies or on TV, Smith divides her time between motivational speaking and mentoring emerging actors at the Tasha Smith Actors Workshop (TSAW).
Michael Jai White first garnered widespread attention with his portrayal of controversial, boxing giant Mike Tyson in the HBO special Tyson. With more than two decades of experience as a martial artist, he holds a black belt in a half-dozen karate styles and has won 26 titles in competition. His well-honed skills have been employed to choreograph complex stunts in films such as On Deadly Ground.
Michael’s feature credits include Spawn, in which he played the title character, as well as The Dark Knight, Black Dynamite, 2 Days in the Valley, Breakfast of Champions, Thick As Thieves, Universal Solder: The Return, Exit Wounds and Kill Bill. His television credits include the made-for-TV movies Mutiny and Freedom Song, along with episodes of NYPD Blue, JAG, Living Single and Renegade.
Here, Tasha and Michael talk about reprising their roles as Angela and Marcus from Why Did I Get Married? on TBS’ new spinoff called Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, which premieres on Friday, November 25th at 10 PM ET & PT/ 9 PM CT.
SENTINEL: Hi Tasha, hi Michael. Thanks for the interview Tasha, you got married since we last spoke. Congratulations!
Tasha Smith: Awww, thank you, Kam!
SENTINEL: And Michael, the last time we spoke was when you made that karate film, Black Dynamite.
Michael Jai White: Right!
SENTINEL: Congratulations to you both on the new TV show. Are there any plans to have any characters from Why Did I Get Married? make cameo appearances on For Better or Worse?
TS: You never know, Kam. You never know. Okay?
SENTINEL: How does it feel to land your very own sitcom?
TS: We are excited about it, because Michael and I had so much fun making the movies together. So, for us now to have the TV show, Kam? Forget about it!
SENTINEL: Michael, will you be showcasing your martial arts skills on the show?
MJW: Nooooo! I would never do that. Marcus doesn’t do karate, so I wouldn’t want to remind people of the other stuff that I do.
SENTINEL: I watched the first two episodes, which I really enjoyed. But they seemed to explore very different themes from each other. Why is that?
MJW: Different things happen in different shows.
TS: The show is basically about us and our family, as well as our friends. And the early episodes are devoted to introducing all the characters and to establishing our relationships. It’s really abut the three couples and their relationships, and every once in a while it’s going to focus on us at home with the kids. Do you follow what I’m saying?
SENTINEL: Yep. How involved is Tyler Perry in the project?
TS: Let me tell you. It is his baby! He loves the show, and he loves these characters he created. He’s very passionate, very involved and very hands on because he wants to see it do well.
SENTINEL: What sort of developments can we expect to see in upcoming episodes?
TS: All I have to say is that there will be some twists and turns. The only thing I can guarantee you is that Angela and Marcus are committed to one another and will make their marriage work, for better or worse. It’s going to get funny, messy, dramatic and sexy. And it’s going to be the best show on TV!
SENTINEL: What is your favorite dish to cook?
TS: Kam, you know I can cook my butt off. I don’t know if Mike Jai is as good a cook as I am, but my favorite is my garlic crab dish. There is a restaurant in L.A. called Crustacean which is very famous for its garlic crab. Well, I my can make garlic crab better than Crustacean. My sauce is so good you’ll want to dip your bread in it, put it on your egg omelet, in your cereal, and in everything else.
MJW: I don’t cook. I think they named the “Mike”-rowave after me.
SENTINEL: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
TS: I’ll answer that for him: muscles! As for me, I don’t want to get all deep and heavy, but when I look in the mirror, I see a survivor.
SENTINEL: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
TS: Taking long walks, and counting my dreams as I walked.
MJW: Being left in a hospital when I had pneumonia and the measles.
TS: Oh my God! Michael why didn’t I ever know that about you?
MJW: You never asked me the question.
TS: But we dated before! I should have known this.
SENTINEL: What was it like visiting your hometown of Camden earlier today, Tasha?
TS: It was invigorating! We went back to my old high school and to the city’s performing arts school.
MJW: She was amazing at both places. She inspired the kids so much.
TS: I also visited a childhood friend named Marvin who still lives at his momma’s house. As kids, I used to always knock on the basement window and I’d be like, “Whazzup!” when he opened it. Well, when I knocked on that window again today, his momma freaked out! [LOL] It was fun, Kam.
SENTINEL: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
TS: Doing stuff like that, seeing old friends in Camden, and encouraging kids in the schools.
SENTINEL: The Tavis Smiley question: How introspective are you?
MJW: On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m about a 7.
TS: I’m a lot more introspective than one would believe.
SENTINEL: The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through the tough times?
MJW: By making everything relative, because when you weigh the good against the bad, things usually look a lot better.
TS: I could go on and on answering that question, but I’ll simply say I get through the tough times with prayer, dedication and by changing my negative thoughts.