Yesterday, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) held a private press reception at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead, Atlanta, GA to present seasons 2b of their respective shows. And of course, your girl Karma was in the building!
Angela Robinson, Crystal Fox, and Gavin Houston from the Haves and the Have Nots (HAHN) were in attendance, along with Patrice Lovely, Kendra C. Johnson and Palmer Williams of Love Thy Neighbor.
The afternoon started off with some DELICIOUS food from Maggiano’s. I stuffed my face while taking pictures, and mingling with new friends and journalists. (That’s me on the left with the orange shirt)
Then it was time to watch the previews that OWN had prepared for us. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed both of the clips. However, I tend to lean more towards the Haves and the Have Nots. I just LOVE me some “Veronica Harrington” (Angela Robinson). She says that she loves the storyline because their characters are always evolving.
“I think Tyler Perry, one of his gifts among many, is that he writes stories that people can relate to, that include real people and real situations. But that evolution doesn’t happen over night, and you will find that some characters will take a little longer to evolve.”
Gavin Houston (Jeffrey Harrington), who plays Veronica’s (gay) son says he’s glad to play a character that can raise awareness.
“What’s great is to have the opportunity to build an awareness, and to have a character that has a back story. In the first season, I was doing all kinds of craziness, and people really didn’t like him. But then they started to see what he grew up with, and they started to look past that and not be so judging. And now people are rooting for him.”
Jessica Boyer, Director of Communications for OWN Network also made a super cool announcement at the reception.
According to her, HAHN fans will now be able to interact with the cast through a new app! On June 30th, a free, downloadable app will be available through the Apple Store and Google Play. The app will include fun emojis and stickers from the show.
Although the actors have been getting lots of love from their fans, (I mean, they have their own app, guys), stardom isn’t always easy. Angela talks about what it’s like to deal with fans who can’t separate the show from reality.
“I try not to read or watch, but it’s very difficult, because we tweet with you guys. So hearing about how ugly I am, and how fat I am, and how I need to sit down somewhere. This one lady tweeted that she would never support me in anything I acted in ever! And I was like, ‘I need to work!’ And then I looked at the same site again, and this one here [Crystal] had just gone to my defense. ‘Now wait a minute now. We are working, and these are actors, and uh uh baby doll, sweetie pie!’ And then the same lady tweeted later, ‘Well I got issues with you too!’
Robinson says one fan even walked up to her and slapped her, telling her she needed to be nicer to her child and her husband.
Crystal says she wants people to know that although they’re actors, they’re still human beings.
“I’ve been acting for 35 years, and I’ve seen people go really far because no one challenges what they say. When people started coming out and attacking her, and there were threats…you know, they don’t get it when you try to protect yourself. I wanted to make it very clear that that is an ACTOR. Because if you don’t address it, we stay inhuman. And that’s one of the hardest things about this wonderful experience. I am still a human being 24/7 and I wanted somebody to know that, for her.”
Angela goes on to say that if “Veronica” were a man, then the audience would view her differently.
“If Veronica were a man, people wouldn’t really be as put off by her ruthlessness and her ability to get away things. Seeing as those she’s a woman, she should be nice and sweet to her son. I enjoy the challenge of playing a ruthless person as a woman.”
Gavin, Angela’s TV son is a very dynamic character. When he was asked about his character’s sexuality, this is what he had to say:
“I get the same thing, people asking, ‘is he gay, is he straight?’ If I have people believing that I’m gay when I’m playing this character, then I’m doing my job.” He says it’s also hard to watch himself on television. “I can’t watch. It’s tough. Also, the heart wrenching scenes. Because we do it and we’re there in the truth, just focused on each other as if nobody else is there. Then the lights come on. And just like everybody else, I sit there and judge.”
Most of the actors said it was hard to watch themselves on screen. Some of the actors who don’t mind watching themselves on TV? Kendra C. Johnson and Palmer Williams. Palmer says he watches with his family, and Kendra says, she “loves it.”
On whether or not Tyler Perry writes his scripts according to what fans say?
Crystal says that Mr. Perry is “mindful” of the feedback he gets, but she’s not sure the feedback dictates what he writes.
Well whatever he writes, I’m sure it will be action packed. THAT we can count on.
Tune into to OWN June 26th at 9 PM for the premiere of Love Thy Neighbor and June 30th for the premiere of the Haves and the Have Nots.
For more info on the shows, visit http://www.oprah.com/own