Tichina Arnold talks ‘Martin,’ making her directorial debut, divorce & more
Photo: Getty Images Tichina Arnold is made her directorial debut with the short film Oh Baby Baby!, which premiered during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Saturday (October 8), on BET Her. Oh Baby Baby! tells the story of a high-fashion entrepreneur who finds out that she has breast cancer while seeking In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. … Continued The post Tichina Arnold talks ‘Martin,’ making her directorial debut, divorce & more appeared first on New Pittsburgh Courier.
Tichina Arnold is made her directorial debut with the short film Oh Baby Baby!, which premiered during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Saturday (October 8), on BET Her.
Oh Baby Baby! tells the story of a high-fashion entrepreneur who finds out that she has breast cancer while seeking In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. In an exclusive interview with iHeartRadio personality Jazmyn Summers, the Neighborhood star dished on her first directing experience as well as her time on Martin, her recent divorce, and her career journey.
Keep scrolling to read our full interview with Arnold.
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU CAME TO DIRECT OH BABY BABY.
The opportunity presented itself with beautiful Tressa [Smallwood] and her company. I’ve been told, ‘you should direct.’ My sister has been praying like ‘you gotta direct.’ And I just consistently shied away from it because I didn’t think I was ready. This situation presented itself, and I said, ‘what better time to do it?’ I lost a few people to breast cancer. I know somebody right now who has breast cancer who’s very close to me. I just had one of my friends who had to have a mastectomy. And I love the fact that these film shorts were written by the women who actually went through these horrific moments, being told the c-word.
HOW DID YOU PREPARE TO TELL THE STORY OF A WOMAN WHO FINDS OUT THAT SHE HAS CANCER WHILE RECEIVING IVF TREATMENT?
What was gratifying for me to do this is the woman who actually went through it is now a breast cancer survivor. I had a lot of help [in telling this story] because I had firsthand information from her. I didn’t know a lot about IVF treatment. I had to read up on it and get familiar with it. It’s why it’s so important that we, as Black women, tell and direct our own stories and not let somebody else tell them.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU ARE SENDING TO BLACK WOMEN WITH THIS FILM SINCE WE DIE FROM BREAST CANCER AT MUCH HIGHER RATES THAN WHITE WOMEN?
No one ever wants to get the c-word. if you are diagnosed with cancer, just know that you can live. I tell people, let’s avoid getting the c-word or the diagnosis, and let’s take care of ourselves. Take care of your body. Because we’re up against a lot of awful things. We got bad chemicals in our food, artificial things that we’re digesting and breathing. So take care of yourself, and your body will take care of you. And go to the doctor. Get your checkups. I get my physicals every six months. Go to the doctor at least twice a year, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
ARE WE GOING TO SEE MORE DIRECTING FROM YOU?
I’m hoping to direct an episode of The Neighborhood. I’m entertaining all directing talk and I’ve been shadowing other directors. So we’ll see. I hope so.
MARTIN WAS THE DEFINING SHOW FOR YOUR CAREER, BUT YOU WERE ACTING LONG BEFORE THEN. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE GAME?
I say since three years old. I started singing in church at the age of three. So that was the first time I was able to feel what it’s like to entertain. And from that moment on, I just kind of got the bug. And by the time I turned 11, I was full on. So by the time I turned 12, going into 13, I did my first performance at the Billy Holiday Theater in New York. And now I’m turning 53.
WAS IT TOUGH BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MARTIN TISHA CAMPBELL BEEF BACK THEN WHEN SHE ACCUSED HIM OF HARASSMENT AND LEFT THE SHOW?
Well, that situation I don’t get into because, you know, there’s always two sides to every story. What I do appreciate about that situation was neither Martin nor Tisha made me feel uncomfortable with their situation and what they were going through. It wasn’t easy, but we’re adults, and we have to be responsible, and we have to hear each other out. We have to listen to each other. And we got through it. They got through it. And that’s what matters. Because now they can be an example to others that are in a situation like that that you can get through it and that you can get to a point where you heal. It’s healed now.
FOR YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN RUMORS OF A MARTIN REBOOT. IS THERE A CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING?
We wanted it but it will never, ever, ever be the same. Tommy is no longer with us and Martin can never be the same without Tommy.
AS YOU MENTIONED, YOU’VE BEEN ENTERTAINING SINCE YOU WERE A CHILD. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR CAREER JOURNEY?
The most difficult era of time was after Martin because I was typecast. I wasn’t able to book anything. It’s like the whole industry was saying, ‘Oh no, we love her, We know her, but no, she wouldn’t be right for this role.’ So to be told, Oh, you love me, but you’re not gonna gimme a job was tough. Then I realized that I have to start putting into and investing in myself.
I tell a lot of young people that get into the industry you are your own brand. You are how you sell your brand, how you package your brand, how you respect your brand, and what you put back into your brand. You’ll get it back, but you have to be patient. Things are not gonna come when you want them to come. But your words are very powerful, and you can manifest whatever it is that you want. You take a few hard knocks. You learn from your mistakes.
YOU JUST RECEIVED A ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FROM THE NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE. HOW DID IT FEEL TO GET THE AWARD WHILE YOU’RE STILL YOUNG?
I’m grateful. Now I have a daughter who’s 18 going on 55. Pray for me. And I’m seeing the fruits of my labor through her as well. It’s like I’m watching my mini-me, who’s now taller than me, but to be able to see the fruits of your labor is very rewarding. It’s humbling that people say that they can still laugh after 30 years of Martin. Now I have an opportunity again with another comedic great to be able to work on The Neighborhood with Cedric the Entertainer, who is an amazing human being. God has blessed me, and I honor it. I respect it, I cherish it. And I wanna, just keep going.
YOU RECENTLY GOT DIVORCED FOR THE SECOND TIME. WHAT DID YOU FIND INSIDE YOURSELF TO GET THROUGH THAT?
I always check myself like what did I do wrong? Where did it go wrong? What did I do wrong? You have to take responsibility for your own actions, and then once you take responsibility for your own actions and you check yourself, you’re able to make better decisions.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
You can catch Jazmyn’s entire conversation with Tichina on Youtube.
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The post Tichina Arnold talks ‘Martin,’ making her directorial debut, divorce & more appeared first on New Pittsburgh Courier.