Tatyana Ali King Magazine Photos & Interview
Tatyana Ali King Magazine September 2008 Photos & Interview – Tatyana Ali aka “Ashley Banks” shows some skin in the latest issue of King magazine.In her interview with the mag Tatyana Ali talks about her six years playing Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,graduating with honors from Harvard,playing in the Young & the Restless and staring in Hotel California and prepping her sophomore album called “The Light”.And,yeah on being a surrogate for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.Here are excerpts of her interview.
On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,she said:
“Look, that show changed my life.” “It used to freak me out watching the show, but I look at it now and say.‘That shit was funny.’” There, are you happy? Now get educated.
It’s very rare to see a child actor flee from Hollyweird to get a higher education. Those “don’t do drugs” campaigns must have seeped in.
College was my opportunity to be around my peers, which you don’t get to do when you’re a child actor. And I wanted to be normal and see what else was out there, see what else I was good at. And there are some other things that I’m good at.
I’m good at the sciences, I love learning about plants. You know, I’m a dork…it’s cool. I’ve come to terms with that and I dig it a little.
A sexy botanist? Works for us, but nobody in Harvard stopped you in the halls?
Sure, they did, but they also did that to the Latin scholars across the hallway and the number-one math student who was walking down the street. In Harvard, everybody was extraordinary in the town that they came from. When you get there, nobody is more extraordinary than anyone else.
More extraordinary than seeing you get jacked up in the upcoming flick Hotel California?
[Laughs] I do get jacked up. I’m known more for lighter stuff, obviously for comedy, but this is really very dramatic. And my character experiences a lot of violence and gets caught up in a situation where she has to fight for her life.
Do you think it’ll make people forget about Ashley Banks?
Sure, maybe. It’s not my goal. But it certainly stretched me as an actor. That’s why there’s something about the art itself, and performing, that I truly love. That still drives me. I’ve been in this business for 24 years, so there are a lot of things that I know intuitively. If I’m in the position to bring up an incredible writer, director or producer, I’ll do it in some way.
Which explains your production company, Hazrah Entertainment.
Yes, I’ve always wanted to produce. Our company’s mandate, [for] Anastasia and I, is to bring varied content to the urban space—across the board. Our first project is a Web series called Buppies, which touches on black Hollywood and has a little bit of a Sex and the City and Entourage vibe. It’s about the characters, both women and men, figuring out who they are.
What are your thoughts on black Hollywood?
It’s kind of like the Wild West out there, and not just for black Hollywood. In a traditional sense, things look bad—there are people out of work, shows aren’t going up and a lot of films aren’t being made, because of the fear of actors going on strike. But I think it’s a real fertile time to stake your claim. With things up in the air, it creates new space for people who are trying to break through, business-wise.
The same can be said about the music business, yet you’re still dropping a new album.
I found my voice with this album, The Light. I can never stop singing. Remember, I recorded my first album [1998’s Kiss the Sky, MJJ Music] when I was 16, and other people wrote most of the songs. I really wanted the next album that I did to express who I am. And the only way I can do that is to write it myself. So in that sense, I found my voice.
Did you also recruit a gaggle of producers like last time?
No, I finally paired up with a producer named Johnny J, who has sold 100 million albums worldwide and is responsible for a lot of 2Pac’s music.
You’re not going to start rocking bandannas and have THUG LIFE tatted on your body, are you?
Absolutely not, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s not my personal style. But I’m not gangster—no THUG LIFE tatted on my chest [laughs].
’Cause that wouldn’t be helpful to Barack Obama’s historic march to the White House, you being a volunteer and all.
I’ve been working as a surrogate for his campaign. Surrogates can be politicians, actors, musicians or private citizens—anyone who volunteers in the campaign. Since the Iowa caucuses, I’ve been going to colleges and speaking to students, not just about Obama but about the importance of participating in the process. The notion that one vote doesn’t matter really is a lie.
That notion can be attributed to the last eight years.
Just because people have done us wrong doesn’t mean we should give up. One of the reasons I did volunteer was because I was pissed at what happened in 2000 and in 2004. It made me cry. I needed to be hands-on and help, so I signed up to volunteer. You can’t let the past dictate the future. This is a fight worth fighting.
Sounds like you found another calling, homie. Ever thought of holding office?
[Laughs] I actually studied political studies and Afro-American studies in school, which was my major. I’m very interested in politics privately, but I think that each individual should be politically active. It’s really important because politics affects your everyday life; it affects how much we pay for gas. Hello? Those are the things you’re voting for in the booth, and I think people forget that. The next big fight is to get people to come out in the general election against McCain.
Let’s hope. Do you think we can?
Absolutely, we can. “Yes, we can.” That’s so true.