Meeting and Interviewing Robert Townsend

Meeting and Interviewing Robert Townsend

March 25, 2018
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To know me well is to know my love for movies. In fact, my husband tells me ALL the time that I need to find out how I can get PAID to become a film critic, discover a way to share my writing and love of little known facts, etc…lolĀ  I’m not sure where I’d need to start, but I do think I’d enjoy doing it. I’m a huge fan of James Bond, Mission Impossible and Bourne Identity Franchises. If it’s detective based, drama or action, I want to see it. But, there are a few people and movies that are extremely close to my heart for personal reasons. One person-Robert Townsend. One movie-The Five Heartbeats. To meet Mr. Townsend in person, have the opportunity to interview him AND for HIM to sign MY book, was one of the biggest highlights of 2018 but also of my life.

I don’t mean to sound over the top or overly dramatic. But, he’s one of the best storytellers of our time. He’s also one of the most hardworking and talented individuals in the film industry. Black Panther (which I absolutely love and have watched three times) was NOT the first Black Superhero to be featured on the big screen. It was actually Meteor Man, created by none other than Robert Townsend. He’s also known for believing in his own project so much that he went into his own pocket and funded what would later be recognized as the cult classic, Hollywood Shuffle.

When Heal the Hood Foundation brought him to Memphis to lead a panel discussion about film, I was just excited to have the opportunity to hear him share his words of wisdom and MAYBE take a picture with him. I took notes and recorded a couple of points with the intention of going back to see what I could pull from for my own journey. But, after the event, I was hanging around the interview area with my notebook and phone in hand listening to others interview him. All of a sudden, one of the attendants told me I could go ahead and ask my questions, just be quick. Seriously!?! I get to INTERVIEW him? So, of course, I took advantage of it. I’d just applied to be a freelance writer for the TriState Defender a couple of weeks earlier. I submitted it and it got published along with another article. I’d never been a PAID freelance writer before then.

Now, to the picture and him signing my book. He was allowing photos, so I stood in line with the intention of taking a photo with him and giving him my book. But, after listening to him share his insights, I decided to ask him to sign it so I could keep it as a keepsake. He did and gave me some great advice on staying in pursuit of my passions.

All of this is personal because in addition to it being a great movie filled with lessons, it gave me and my children (specifically my oldest) an escape during some dark times in our lives. There was a period where we had no cable and watched a lot of movies. We’d reenact them as well.lolĀ  The 5 Heartbeats was definitely one of the favorites. And, because I have been following Mr. Townsend for years, I felt a different kind of connection to the storyline and his vision for the movie. And, in all of this, I think the BIGGEST thrill was that my oldest daughter was able to attend and meet him as well. It was an amazing afternoon of bonding and learning from one of our favorite people.