Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Black Issues Interview

IF YOU WERE TO ASK ANGELA BASSETT AND COURTNEY B. VANCE "What's love got to do with it?" they'd answer, with heartfelt enthusiasm, "Everything." In Friends: A Love Story (Kimani Press, February 2007), the celebrities describe their first date and their courtship, which laid the foundations of their marriage of almost a decade.

During the 1980s and later, when the two actors were navigating their individual careers, they first met at Yale Drama School and bumped into each other at house parties and social events in Los Angeles. Neither had an idea they'd ever develop a unique bond. And suddenly, their hearts met, so to speak. Each separately endured romantic missteps, family tragedies and personal insights before coming together as a couple and committed life partners.

Below, Vance and Bassett discuss the collaboration on their first book, their 18-month-old twins, Slater Josiah and Bronwyn Golden, and the strength of their relationship.

Black Issues Book Review: Congratulations on the book and the additions to your family. How do you describe your new book?

Angela Bassett: Well, it's an autobiographical love story. A story that discusses love of self, love of each other and love of the craft of acting ... (And the love of God, Courtney adds.) It's told in a "he says, she says" way.

BIBR: You've had a successful marriage for quite a few years now. Can you describe the process that you and Angela developed for negotiating projects you're both involved in. Which of you gets the last word when you can't decide?

Courtney B. Vance: Our relationship, first and foremost, is based in faith, therefore our goal is to respect and support each other. Now with children in our lives, they are our first priority when reviewing potential projects, and how it will affect them. Then we weigh each project on its own merit; and finally we both try never to be working on projects at the same time, projects that would keep us apart and out of town.

Angela has a Disney animated project she's working on, and after five years of flying back and forth between Los Angeles and New York doing Law & Order: Criminal Intent, I am very content, right now, managing these changes in our household, preparing for our book tour and enjoying my time home being "Daddy" Our marriage is strong because we negotiate with each other and make decisions jointly; this creates a nurturing environment where we can both flourish.

With this project, Angela and I remained strong and united in the telling of our story; in fact, the process actually brought us closer together.

BIBR: You both have busy schedules, do you have any time for reading?

C.B.V.: More than anything right now, we are focusing on preparing the household for these children to grow up in. Because we began our family late in life, our house is not geared toward "little feet" running around. So we have begun the process of re-orienting our house to accommodate these precious jewels! It is a wonderful but time-consuming process, and one that takes complete concentration.

But our years together have prepared us for the task! And oh, yes, what books are we reading right now? What else--children's and parenting books! Angela is reading the books, and I am surfing the Web, looking for good schools. You know the old adage, "Preparation precedes blessings!"

BIBR: Are there any plans to write another book, perhaps a children's book:

A.B.: We've have been asked about writing a children's book. And we've given it some thought. So yes, there's quite a possibility. I've actually thought that one could be based on a little ditty I sing to the kids. "We're sitting in a chair, sitting in a chair, looking out of the window, what's over there, where are we going.... ?" [Angela laughs]. It [the book project] definitely has to be about something that excites children's imaginations and stimulates their curiosities.

Also check out this video interview: [Coffee with Angela and Courtney]


LilMissDonnie said...

i cant for the children book . i will also buy that

Chi said...

I think it's so cute that they redesigning their lifestyle to accommodate their little ones. A children's book would be a smart move.

S.Leslie. said...

I think the song Angela made up for her kiddies is adorable! If they did a children's book, I'd just have to pick up a few copies for my little cousins!!

I like that writing "Friends" brought Ang and Court closer together. They're already such a powerhouse couple!

MahoganyGirl said...

Good Interview.


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