Melissa De Sousa Talks 'Reed Between the Lines'
1 year ago
Actress also talks about the challenges of being Afro-Latina in Hollywood
Most people know actress Melissa De Sousa from her sassy character Shelby in the 1999 film “The Best Man.” Still, for several weeks fans have gotten to know the Afro-Latina actress as Gabrielle Jiminez in BET’s new hit series Reed Between the Lines.
Loop 21 caught up with De Sousa before the show premiered to find out why she joined the cast, the challenges of being Afro-Latina in Hollywood and her real feelings on her co-stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm Jamal Warner.
Loop 21: Why did you decide to join this production?
It was something when I read the character; it was something different and fun. I love the fact that the show is based in New York because I am a native New Yorker, although my character is from South Philly, who moved to New York. I love that she is Puerto Rican. I’m Afro-Latina and you see more of that on television, because that’s what most Latinos look like in New York. I like her personality. I like that she’s fiery and passionate and funny. This cast ... I mean, how can you go wrong?
Loop 21: Do you feel that being Afro-Latina, you have unique experiences being an actor in Hollywood?
I’m African American as well, so when I first started my career I played African-American roles. I had to fight to play Latin-American roles because my skin is dark. So Hollywood has their own idea. There more in tune to the more Caucasian looking Latin. It was just a battle for me to play Latin. For me, it’s a double-edged sword. Since I have started playing Latin, I almost feel there is more work available to be honest .... It’s just different. People always want to put you in a box. I don’t want to be put in a box. I want to play everything.
Loop 21: You’ve known Malcolm Jamal Warner for a long time. What have you learned from him as a producer, as a director and as an actor on set?