Shawn and Damien Wayans
The Dance Flick
In 2000, the Wayans
Brothers made a big splash with Scary Movie, a
hilarious spoof of horror flicks. Since that phenomenal
franchise has raked in about a billion dollars at the
box office, it’s no surprise that it also spawned a
cottage industry of imitators, including such similar
parodies as Not Another Teen Movie, Date Movie,
Epic Movie, Superhero Movie, Meet the
Spartans and Disaster Movie.
Now the Wayans have
returned to the genre with Dance Flick, a spoof
of dance films featuring plenty of their relatives both
in front of and behind the camera. Directed by Damien
Wayans, the picture is based on a script he co-wrote
with his Uncles Shawn, Keenan Ivory, Marlon and Cousin
Craig. Plus, the movie stars ten Wayans: Damon, Jr.,
Kim, Shawn, Marlon, Craig, Keenan, Chaunte, Michael,
Cara Mia and Gregory.
Recently, Shawn and
Damien shared their thoughts with me not only about
making the movie but about being members of a family
which has become as associated with acting as families
with pedigreed thespian lineages like the Barrymores,
the Phoenixes, the Fondas, the Bridges, the Baldwins,
the Arquettes and the Redgraves.
* * * * *
Shawn, Damien, thanks for the time.
Hey, what it do, Kam?
Shawn, the first time I ever interviewed you was at the
Four Seasons for Scary Movie. You might remember
it because I brought my young son along who was in the
fourth grade at the time. He was dying to meet you and
Marlon because he watched your TV show, “The Wayans
Bros,” every day after school. And you guys were great
with him, signing autographs and taking pictures with
SW: That’s right. I remember. How’s he doing?
well, thanks. He’s a sophomore at Princeton.
that’s great! Time sure goes by fast, huh?
What took you so long to parody another genre? After
all, the Wayans revived the whole interest in spoofs
with Scary Movie. But then everybody started
ripping off your idea with Date Movie, Epic
Movie, Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie
and Not Another Teen Movie.
You mean, “Not a Wayans Movie.” Yeah, we did start
something, but we took time off to pursue some other
projects. Then, when we missed having that kind of fun,
we picked a genre that we wanted to lampoon and went
back at it.
Damien, this movie marks your feature film
directorial debut. How challenging did you find it?
Well, as a first-timer, there’s always going to be
challenges. But I had my family around, and that’s
always good, since they’re funny guys and add to the
process. If they were unfunny, that would probably be a
problem. They’re also producers who understand that they
have a brand, who know how to execute that brand and to
make sure that comes across. And I think they did a good
Did you have a hard time commanding the respect of your
veteran actor relatives in the cast, being younger than
Nah, they all listen. They’re uncles, and at the end of
the day, they want that respect. And they earned it.
We all respected each other. We thought he was the guy
for the job because we knew he had the talent to be able
to do this. It was a really fun, family project, and we
had a good time.
KW: Why is it
so many actors and actresses I interview credit a Wayans
brother for helping them get their start?
Yeah, we’ve helped a lot of folks. [Chuckles] But we had
help. My brother Keenan helped us. So, we try to help
other people who share that passion and are serious
I see that five of you worked on the script for Dance
Flick. What was involved in that process?
We just went into a room, drank some green tea, began
feeling jittery, and started being funny. [Laughs]
When coming up with ideas, do you think about how
expensive it will be to shoot a particular stunt?
Yeah, as you get closer to the actual time when the
movie’s going to be shot, the more challenging the
stuff you wrote hopped-up on green tea becomes to
Bernadette Beekman asks, who do you think would make a
good Supreme Court Justice?
SW: Who do I
think would make a good Supreme Court Justice? Michelle
I’m a go with Judge Mathis, or Oprah. [Chuckles]
SW: Hold on,
he’s got more questions. You might want to save Oprah.
KW: You might
answer Oprah to The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the
top of your hero list?
bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book
Right for Your Metabolism by Felicia Drury Kliment.
DW: Mine was
Donald Goines’ Black Girl Lost.
Bobby Shenker wants to know whether that hilarious “Men
on Film” sketch from In Living Color will ever be
adapted in to a movie.
SW: Will it
ever? I can’t say whether it might ever make its way to
film, but I can’t say never either.
KW: The Tasha
Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
SW: I guess
DW: If he
didn’t say that, I was just about to say it. That man is
nervous about flying.
SW: I don’t
really like flying, and I ain’t down with getting in the
ocean either. Sharks!
Me, I was a little nervous about this movie until Keenan
calmed me down when he came in and said, “You’re doing a
good job. You rock!”
The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
Yes, very happy!
The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you
had a good belly laugh?
Watching this movie.
Yeah, watching David Alan Grier play Sugar Bear.
And watching that scene from Superbad where they were
The music maven Heather Covington question: What music
are you listening to nowadays?
Ooh, that’s a good one. I rock that Jay-Z all the time,
I have to listen to older music because I don’t feel
like we’re getting great new music right now. I like
Kanye… Common… Little Wayne…
DW: Yeah, I
like Kanye. I love what he’s doing. I’m a big Dre fan,
KW: The Laz
Alonso question: How can your fans help you?
DW: By coming
out to see Dance Flick, and bring everybody you
SW: And don’t
bootleg our movies.
KW: When you
look in the mirror, what do you see?
DW: I know
what Shawn sees. You see Grandpa, because you look just
SW: What do I
see? A hard worker.
KW: Is there
any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone
advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in
DW: I would
say, to keep the hustle alive, never take “No” for an
SW: And stay
close to your family, and teach those younger than you
how to do it.
KW: How do
you feel when Barack Obama became President of the
SW: It was an
DW:: Yeah, it
to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan’s question: Where in L.A. do
rather not say.
I stay down the block from where you don’t want to go.
KW: Do you
still have ties to New York?
SW: Yeah, New
York will always be a big part of our heart and our
the target audience for Dance Flick?
who wants to laugh.
KW: How do
you want to be remembered?
SW: As guys
who did some quality work and who were good people.
KW: Is there
any message that people can take away from this movie?
SW: That even
during a recession, you can laugh.
KW: Well, I
really appreciate the interview, and best of luck with
SW: I’m glad
to hear your son’s doing well. Tell him I said, “Hi!”
KW: Will do,
see a trailer for Dance Flick, visit:
Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered
the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It
By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign. The Economy
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
* * * * *
* * *
(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
posted 21 May 2009