Yandy Smith & Egypt Sherrod: Why You Need to See "Life, Love, Soul" [EXCLUSIVE]
Cast speaks on it's positive message
It took nearly 4 years to create "Life, Love, Soul" -- the coming-of-age drama that won the Audience Award at last year’s Urban World Film Festival -- but these days it seems like the struggle has been worth it.
In the tragedy-to-triumph story, 17-year-old Roosevelt Jackson (Robbie Tate-Brickle) loses his mother (Tami Roman) and brother in a car accident. He later finds himself forced to deal with his tumultuous relationship with his estranged father (Chad Coleman). In coping with grief and dealing with his own journey to manhood, Jackson discovers that life may knock him down but as long as he gets up again, he will prevail.
The film also stars radio personality Egypt Sherrod, Jamie Hector of "The Wire" and "Steve Harvey Show" favorite Terri J. Vaughn; also, "Love and Hip-Hop" reality star Yandy Smith serves as producer, as Noel Calloway does director. Loop 21 caught up with the cast to dish on why people should support this project.
Loop 21: Yandy, how did you get attached to the project?
Yandy Smith: Noel and I are good friends. We went to high school together many moons ago. He reached out to me four years ago when he was getting into the process of shooting the film, but I was going crazy with the music stuff and my career was starting to take off, so I couldn’t really focus as much as I wanted to. But a couple of months ago, he reached back out and said he was getting ready to start marketing and promoting. When I came to the screening, I was blown away: 'What can I do to be down? How can I help promote this movie?' Using my celebrity, I wanted to do whatever it took to make this thing pop. I came on board at the end of this project -- when the filming was completed -- and my role was strategizing and branding on the producer side. It’s very close to what I do in the music world; as a manager, you market and you strategize for the artists. Hopefully I’ll expand and do a lot more.
[ALSO READ: PIC: Yandy Finally Reveals Baby Bump]
Loop 21: How has working with Mona Scott-Young helped prepare you for your work with this film?
Smith: The first TV project I ever worked on was Missy Elliott’s UPN show, "Road to Stardom." I was in the marketing department and a production assistant. I was running around getting posters made. It really helped me with the marketing and branding of this film. Her mentorship goes a lot of other places beyond just management.
Loop 21: What did you all take from your experience filming?
Smith: Hope. The message of hope is prevalent throughout the film.
Robbie Tate-Brickle: Regardless of what you go through in life, as long as you stay positive and have people that believe in you, stay on the grind, and work on your craft, you will achieve your goal and this movie will show that.
Egypt Sherrod: My takeaway from the film and script is that fear and faith can’t exist in the same space. Robbie’s character shows the adults that you’re worried so much about me, but I have faith and the two just can’t work together and faith ultimately won out. I think that we experience that off-screen too, just in the planning and praying and hope and concern and worry: Is this film gonna win at the Urban World Film Festival? Is it going to actually make the big screen?
[ALSO READ: Egypt Talks the South & Her New Movie]
Terri J. Vaughn: I loved the depiction of black family, and that the word "family" takes on different meanings according to what happens in life. And I loved that we have a film where we get to address the vulnerability and troubled relationships, but we get to break into the forefront and find healing.
Jamie Hector: What Noel created in writing the screenplay and what he believed in, he also expressed outside of that. My organization, Moving Mountains, where I have a truckload of kids, he actually gave them all parts in the film. They all came to The Bronx, so this was their first time on screen doing something positive.
Chad Coleman: Our director is fantastic.
Noel Calloway: For me, it’s what you guys see here in the cast. I think that resonates on the screen -- the value of change, the value of family, and you’re not always born into the family that you end up with. I value these people, this film, the fact that it took 4 years to make through snowstorms or funding lapses; whatever could go wrong did go wrong, but we had faith. They believed in me, we believed in each other, and we pulled it together, so what happens on the screen definitely happened behind the scenes and I think it resonates. The audiences have responded to the film in a way that does give people that message of hope, that if you continue to fight then you’ll win. The only way you’ll lose is if you give up.
Life, Love, Soul opens in 7 cities today. Watch the trailer below.