Originally posted Monday, July 9, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Erika Alexander has been a busy actress over the past three decades though her role as attorney Maxine Shaw on Fox’s “Living Single” from the 1990s remains her most iconic.
Most recently, she was in the 2017 hit film “Get Out” as an FBI agent mocking Lil Rel Howery’s TSA agent for his cockamamie theory about his friend being kidnapped by white folks and being enslaved.
She has also been active in politics, supporting Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and landing a spot on the dais to speak at the Democratic National Convention.
Alexander recently teamed up with former Google executive Ben Arnon to launch Color Farm, a multi-platform content company. (She met him while on the campaign trail.)
She is coming to Atlanta this week as part of a 10-city tour to host a series of panel discussions on inclusion in media and seeking projects from creators of color through an initiative called Keep It Colorful.
On Wednesday night, she will have a public discussion with Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor who Alexander considers a friend. (The event is already sold out.)
“She’s a creator,” Alexander said, noting Abrams’ romance novels under a pen name. “We bonded on that level. I campaigned for her in Los Angeles last year.”
Indeed, Abrams has courted Hollywood and many actresses have been receptive, including Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones and Uzo Aduba. They all took a bus tour with Abrams in May. And she has been vocally supportive of the film and TV tax credits that have brought hundreds of productions into the state the past decade.
Alexander, in the meantime, is in super creator mode. Her company Color Farm, which seeks a broad array of voices among its creators, has already signed a deal with Lionsgate for an untitled horror/thriller written by Alexander. She is creating a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spinoff with Joss Whedon. And she’s developing a detective series with Jordan Peele, who created “Get Out.”
“I’ve been in the business 34 years,” she said. “You realize you’re a tool, a work for hire. You ultimately want to be one of the toolmakers, someone who can build things. We need to write ourselves into our own futures.”
She wants to turn Color Farm into the “Motown of film, television and tech. We want to create a bridge between the street and mainstream.”
She then added: “I think everybody can feel this energy happening geopolitically. We are in a space where creatives will make a difference. Amid all this vitriol and rhetoric, artists emerge.”
Two of her “Living Single” castmates will show up on Thursday for panel discussions at Plaza Theatre in the Poncey-Highland area: Kim Fields and T.C. Carson, both of whom live locally. (You can sign up here.)
Alexander said she’s proud of the impact her “Living Single” character Maxine Shaw had on many African-American women. “That character was so profoundly inspiring and had a real effect on people’s careers,” she said. “A lot of people in politics and the law.” She said Abrams is one of those people.
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