The Two Things Comedy Central’s Shawntay Dalon Refuses to Compromise for Hollywood

Slow-Roll-Detroit
Sticky

I’m not currently living in Detroit but I’m still a Detroiter at heart. I’ve earned my stripes by living on, just about, every side of the city. Shoot, my husband and I are up there often to visit friends and family, still. So, when I learned about this new Comedy Central show coming out named ‘Detroiters’, my first question was “are they actually going to feature some Detroit natives?”. Well, they do!  My husband and I tuned into Comedy Central one Tuesday night and haven’t missed an episode yet. The show is so funny. If you’re from the Metro Detroit area, you are going to crack up at episode 4 and their Dittrich Furs spoof. The song is forever stuck in my head now. Thanks guys!  Of course, I am a little biased due to the D being my hometown and having a connection with one of the actresses on the show: Shawntay Dalon.

Shawntay, a Detroit native, plays the role of “Chrissy”. She is the wife of “Tim Cramblin” (played by Tim Robinson).  Chrissy is also the sister of Tim’s best friend “Sam Duvey” (played by Sam Richardson, also from Detroit). Shawntay took some time out of her busy schedule to chat about landing a recurring role on the show. She also shares tips for staying healthy and remaining herself while on the journey to fulfilling her destiny.

img_3672

So, you’re an actual Detroiter (what up doe). What side did you grow up on?

“(Yelling) Eastside!!!! I grew up on Gray Street. Off Mack. It was weird, I loved it there but at the same time couldn’t wait to get out. Our house still stands. Gutted. But standing.”

How did growing up in Detroit prepare you for your career?

Detroiters are grinders at heart. It doesn’t matter how low or tough it gets, we will find a way. Hungry? No money? We will create a dish with bread, bananas, and syrup and be on our way. That was a real meal my siblings and me had a few times, by the way.

That is the definite truth. Low key, some of those makeshift meals were the best. People from Detroit seem to have a different mindset  and hunger than most. I’m glad I’m seeing it pay off for many of our peers. Anyway, when and how did you know, acting was your calling?

I, honestly, cannot remember when I did not want to be an actress. But I do remember wanting to be the Pink Power Ranger and getting super excited when I found out I could “pretend” to be her. As I got older, Jada Pinkett (Smith) was a huge influence. She would be dramatic one moment and comedic the next. It was amazing to me. I was not allowed to watch her movies so I would sneak. I know, I know. That was bad but it was building purposes (laughing).

I’m glad you stuck with your calling.  I know you have a strong relationship with Christ. How does that affect the roles you choose?

I have turned down a LOT of roles because of my faith. And I don’t regret any of them. The thing is, I have to wake up and look at myself in the mirror. I have to live with the decisions I make. So, people may look at my faith as a hindrance ….. I look at it as a blessing. I wouldn’t have this gift if God didn’t GIVE it to me. So, if there’s anything I personally don’t feel comfortable with, I don’t do it. I believe something better will come along. For instance: #Detroiters

Does that cause issues with acting?

It used to. When I battled with my convictions and the opinions of others. I’ve grown. Now if I am not okay with something. I speak up and ask if we can make some changes. If we can’t & they must recast, I am okay with that. And if I am fine with something, and others “opinions” are against what I’m doing, I am okay with that too. No matter what you do, people will have something to say about it. I choose to be led by Christ. Not by people.

C3wR1JEUEAAGYf5

Detroiters’ Premiere in L.A.

 

Speaking on selecting roles, I’ve worked with you on one of our friend’s film and knew you were super talented (shout out to Roshaun Page). So, I was not surprised about you being casted in Comedy Central’s “Detroiters” but tell me how you landed this role?

Roshaun…what up doe!!!! (laughing) that’s my boy right there. Yes, you played by daughter as an adult. How cooooool is that?!? Well, what’s interesting is that I had just moved back to L.A when I got the call to come back to Detroit, to audition for Detroiters. (crazy, right?) For about 5 years I was bicoastal. I was with an agency in Hollywood and working here & there. But I’ve always wanted to work at home. In my city. Near my family and friends. That was always my desire. So, when I got the call to send in an audition video. I called my friend Tevyn who is from Michigan but was dancing in China. After he was done in China he came straight to L.A. So, he was living in an apt with about six people. When I got the call to audition, I called Tevyn & asked him if I could come over and he shoot my audition video. He’s like, “Let me see if the house would be empty” (laughing). It just so happened, it was. I sent the video in. I got a call back. Flew back to Detroit with pennies in my pocket. Went to the callback. Waited a few weeks and got the call that I landed the role of “Chrissy”.

That is so awesome. God aligned everything to work out for your good. What’s some advice you’d give to other creative for maintaining a holistically healthy life?

You know that commercial that says “a body at rest tends to stay at rest”? I totally believe that. Laziness is a killer in every area of life. It will affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know people who have lost out on opportunities simply because they were lazy or procrastinated. You gotta GET UP and GET IT. Nothing is going to just “happen”. Nothing. You MUST work. It doesn’t have to start out big, but at least start. And in the end, Pray. In all areas. To become better and grow.

Oftentimes we have the best advice for others but do not follow it ourselves (I’m guilty). How is Shawntay Dalon applying this to her own life?

There are two main things that I don’t budge on. (1) I am huge on keeping peace in my life. I mean, I am wholeheartedly an advocate of my peace and it being protected. If anyone. If anything disturbs my peace then it must change or go. I have seen people live unhappy, unhealthy, depressed lives which as led some to death. Simply, because they allowed mess to clutter their life. I have walked away from friendships, relationships, and even “businesships” because of the negative energy that was bringing negative results in my life. So, I keep a shield around my peace. (2) Prayer. I keep an active prayer life. I don’t look at prayer as just talking to God, but I look at it as listening to God. I don’t know about anybody else but I need Jesus! I am a hot mess without Jesus Christ of Nazareth!! (laughing). I need His guidance. I need His teaching. I need His grace and mercy. I need His love. So, prayer is what keeps me at peace.

What are you doing in terms of physical activity and healthy eating, too?

Yes! I workout at least 3 times a week. I don’t have time to go out to gym so I do my own regiments at my home. Sometimes I’m doing them while going over lines, on the computer, etc. “I be looking crazy!”.  I only drink pop one day a week. Pop is my weakness. Pray for me.I try my hardest to stay away from hamburger meat. Just ground turkey.The daily fast my church call every other month helps too.  I am currently on one now. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.

img_3670

Shawntay’s natural hair

 

I was so excited to see that you were wearing your natural hair. Was that your decision?

Yes. Wearing my natural hair was my decision. The year before I was cast, I made the decision to start wearing my hair. A man who I look to as a big brother (Thank you Mike E) , we were both at a casting meeting and he directly, and in love said to me ” You shouldn’t wear wigs. Wear your hair. If casting want to change your hair. They will get a wig, for you.” He said it with so much care and love that I forgot that I was just insulted.  No really. After that, I had to ask myself…”Why am I wearing wigs?”.  I had to examine myself internally and search for any doubt of self love that I might have had. I prayed about it. And whoolah! “All my natural glory!!” The producers at Comedy Central loved my hair. I think once we begin to embrace our natural beauty, others have absolutely no choice but to do the same.

 

Thank you for sharing all of this! Before we go what else is coming down the pike for you?

A new feature film called “Forbidden”. An author asked me to change his book to a screenplay. I wrote the screenplay and then was asked to be the director. So, that is what I am currently working on. You can check out more information about it soon at shawntaydalon.com

 

Be sure to tune into Comedy Central every Tuesday at 10:30pm EST to catch the show. It’s been renewed for a second season and recently made its international debut. I want to give a big thanks to Shawntay for the fun interview! I hope this serves as inspiration to all of the creatives out there. Keep pushing but remain healthy while doing so!

Advertisements

Lack of Sleep Can Kill Your Productivity…and Maybe You.

Standard

 

We’re getting too little sleep. Image Credit: Meme on Instagram

A recurring complaint I see among fellow entrepreneurs or artists is how we consistently lack sleep. Most are proud to wear this “badge of honor” because it is seen as a measure of how dedicated you are or hard you’ve worked. But sleep is actually a form of self-care. You know you’ve seen the posts such as “I’ll sleep when I die” and I’m thinking “uhhh you’ll die if you never get a sufficient amount of rest. I say this because it’s really good for your immune system and whatnot, but I’ll digress.” If you don’t believe me, read here about a study showing the adverse effects of inadequate sleep and its linkage to premature death.

Anyway, I’m not judging as I have been duped by this societal pressure, too. However, a change occurred when I realized I was not producing my preferred caliber of work off of little to no sleep. I discovered a cool tool to help you get the most quality sleep regardless of the amount of time.

First, let’s explore a few reasons as to why you aren’t getting enough rest:

Taking care of others

Cannot stop thinking

Creative or most productive peak times vary

Working on multiple projects or job

Society has made sleep deprivation cool and a bragging right

Lack of time-management

Some of these reasons are not under your control, but poor time management is usually the main culprit and something you CAN control.

Another Screenshot Captured by Me in the Past.

Ok, so, maybe you’re on the opposite side of the coin. You actually get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, and still feel fatigued, sluggish, and/or not alert. This could be tied a few things such as diet, mental, and physical health. Or it could be due to the type of sleep you are getting and waking up in between sleep cycles may help give you the energy needed. Now, hear me out because this is actually fascinating.

There are two states of sleep: REM and Non-REM sleep and your body usually cycles between these two. Non- REM sleep is comprised of 4-stages.

1st STAGE: This usually lasts for 5-10 minutes. The eyes are usually closed, but this is the time period in which you may be easily awakened.

2nd STAGE: This is the period of light sleep in which the body’s muscles are starting to relax, heart rates are decreasing and body temperatures lower in preparation for the next two stages.

3rd STAGE: This is the deep sleep stage, also called delta sleep. When awakened in this stage, or the next, you may feel like you are in a state of confusion or disorientation.

4th STAGE: It is basically an even deeper sleep stage. Your body begins to replenish, repair and strengthen the immune system also. Then you go into your REM state of sleep.

Then you have the final REM sleep stage. REM sleep is short for rapid eye movement and this is the stage where dreams usually occur. REM sleep is usually very brief and is attained after the 4 levels of Non-REM are reached and then…..yes, you guessed it, and the cycle repeats itself! Waking up in the middle of cycles may cause extreme tiredness even if you’ve slept for hours.

By now you’re like, “girl if you don’t give me this tool you’re talking about….” Well, there is something that may be helpful if you want to create a sleep cycle schedule to aide in boosting your daily energy. Since sleep cycles average at about 90 minutes or so, the good people behind http://sleepyti.me have created a site that will calculate 3 or 4 different bed times for you based on what time you’d like to wake up or vice versa. It’s akin to alchemy.

Thank me after you wake up!

 

Adapted from an article, Brittany wrote for examiner.com in February 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Study Break

Standard

First off, I want thank all of you who take time out to read my posts and join me on this journey of growth!

My initial goal was to post at least once a month. However, I have been doing some “studying”. I’ve been reading the bible, praying, seeking answers and staying to myself for the most part. I have a few posts that I will be adding very soon but I wanted to make sure that I am being led by God to say the right things and not anything that just appeases people so I can gain readership. I’ve been challenging myself to become a better person and to strengthen my relationship with God. A lot of activities, habits, and people that aren’t conducive to my growth have been cut out of my life because I can’t afford to go back to the old me. I have learned more about my shortcomings and weaknesses while discovering my life’s purpose(s). I know that I will never stop learning but when the time is right for me to come back and share…I will. Love you all and God bless!

 

Stay tuned 🙂

Ooooh, let me tell you what I just heard…

Standard

Recently, a friend and I had been discussing that people love to talk about others’ mishaps to make themselves feel better. Then I read James 3 & 4 this morning and I began to think about gossiping and its ripple effects.

” It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. ” (James 3:6 MSG)

“Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God‘s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?” (James 4:11 MSG)


Gossip is color blind.

WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE TO GOSSIP?

1) It makes them feel better about themselves. Humans are competitive and want you to either a) be on their level or b) feel like they are now better than you due to learning about a mistake(s) you’ve made. This is why people shouldn’t put others or themselves on too high of a pedestal; we are human.

 2) People just love drama….I haven’t quite figured out why yet

3) People are BORED. The busier I am, the less time I have to call and text my friends about what I’ve heard about your mom or Susie.

4) Some pride themselves as being the source of “information”. I mean people are making a living off of it, no shots fired but I’m just saying.

5) There are probably some other reasons that I can’t think of right now…….so just *insert here* if you think of any.

Gossip can cause division and tarnish reputations which has its own set of possible outcomes. People have had mental breakdowns or killed themselves due to the scrutiny and opinions of others. Friendships/relationships have been ruined. Someone may view you differently due to something they’ve heard without giving you a chance or knowing the full situation. So, I thought about myself and times that I have gossiped. My intention may not have been to make someone look bad but that my gossiping was rather “innocent” and/or I was merely reporting the “facts” to a close friend (I still didn’t believe in going around spreading rumors to the masses).  I had to check myself and think about what I heard may have been a blatant lie or not the whole truth. I also thought about myself, friends and family. What if someone gossips about us? How would I like that then?

Now, let’s be realistic….most people will not stop gossiping.  But you can take something away from this….simply watch what you do. I am not an advocate for doing wrong and trying to hide it. I think we should just try to do right the first time and blah blah blah. However, you know how people are and yes, we shouldn’t care what people think but there IS a verse that states that we shouldn’t let our “good be evil spoken of”. Since, we can’t stop people from talking and gossiping but we can watch how we react and if we engage in it. Personally, I try to change the subject or not say much. I even go as far as to tell people that I don’t care to hear someone else’s business. I also try to watch what I say now. I have done plenty of wrong and can’t speak on someone else in the first place. WHO AM I?

So if you’re a person that gossips, cool. Just stay away from me or don’t expect me to tell you anything personal because I am sure you’d “run and tell that” as the great Antoine Dodson once stated. Let’s try to do better and think about the consequences of our actions and words. One more person minding their own business is a wonderful thing.

Have a blessed weekend!

Can’t become wise if you’re listening to fools

Standard

I am going through a period of spiritual and behavioral metamorphosis. It hasn’t always been easy but it is something that I wanted and needed. I needed restoration, healing, and freedom. I am happier overall and there is much more work that I need to do. As a part of my process, at least once a week I take time to reflect on recent and/or past behavior. I try to figure out why I may have made a particular decision. These decisions could’ve been good or bad. I do this because I wish to be wise and this helps me gain wisdom and insight.

During this season of change, I’ve had to separate myself to grow without specific distractions. “Friends” and associates may feel like I’ve been to myself and I have. I have always been a loner anyway and would need my time to myself to think, create, write, and pray. Not to mention how busy I am with school, work, family and my health. However, I’ve been utilizing my time to do a little revamping and think of how allowing myself to listen to some people helped me get into bad predicaments. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have to take full responsibility for anything that I did and don’t blame others for things I had control over. BUT, that showed me that I needed to surround myself with wiser people.

Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. But he who heeds counsel is wise.

So, I read the above verse and began to think about people who usually gave me advice. You have:

1) The Jealous One.

The one who doesn’t want you doing better than them. So their advice can be harmful to you since they do not truly wish to see you grow.

2) The Fool

This person’s advice can be harmful but they aren’t trying to do this intentionally. They live their life in a certain way that may (or may not) work for them but doesn’t work for you. I’ve been the fool and had given advice then in retrospect, realized how bad or stupid it was. Sorry if I influenced any of you to do something stupid lol. The fools are usually impulsive and react swiftly before thinking (yup that was me too and thank God for learning to control that).

3) A wise and/or caring person.

Their advice may or may not sting sometime but they usually want the best. They are rational thinkers and may share their own experience as an example of what consequences can occur. You can look at their lives and see that they are attempting to practice what they preach. These people are still human so they may not be a 100% correct all the time either. However, you’ll see the want in them to want to grow and do better.

How do you begin to surround yourself with wiser people? Well I am learning that now. The first thing I did was remove and distance myself from events, places or people who are doing things I wish to no longer engage in. It’s a personal choice but it’s helping with my spiritual and emotional maturation. Actually, you’ll see people begin to drop out of your life when you decide to make certain changes anyway. You attract what you display. Also, you need counsel in more than one area in life. These areas can be professional development, parenting, relationships and more.

Proverbs 19:20  Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that  you may be wise in your latter days.

I have a lot more to say about wisdom but I’ll talk about that next time.  I’d like to hear how you feel about wisdom and wise counsel and your plans for seeking this if you haven’t already done so.


Ph.D in Life Experiences

Standard

I just finished my first semester of grad school and yesterday I sat back and thought about everything I’ve completed and learned (and for once, I’ve finished right before my bday whoop! whoop!).  It was a major adjustment for me because I had so much going on physically, mentally and spiritually but by the end of the semester I realized that I’ve grown so much.

In school, you start off getting acclimated to your new courses, teachers and classmates. You have homework or reading assignments that should be completed by a certain time and then boom, the middle of the semester is here and its time for midterms. You’re demonstrating that you have at least an inkling of comprehension of what has been covered so far and to get a good grade. Then another month or two pass and you freak out and realize that it is time for final papers and exams. Some exams are cumulative and others are on new material since the midterm. You now have to apply everything you’ve learned throughout the semester in order to pass the course (well unless u got all A’s on everything in the beginning of the course and have some leeway lol).

Basically, life is like a getting a degree. You may have that one “course” or vice that is giving you a hard time and you are unsure of how you’ll pass it. You may have a bad semester period but learn from it and do better the next. You may feel like giving up because it seems too challenging. You may be one that said “eff that I am taking a break” but then later returned to get yourself together. My view is that I’ve been tested in certain areas in life and failed. I took time to learn from it, studied how to not do it again and when I was tested once more, that was my chance to prove whether or not I truly learned and sometimes I barely passed, failed or completely aced it. Taking time out to “study” your own behavior, choices, mistakes, situations, environment, etc is vital. You can not totally move on or do better for yourself without doing so.  Life’s experiences should be used as a lessons for you and for others. Become a “professor” and teach someone else about what or what not to avoid too  :-).

I really could go a little more deeply into this BUT since it is officially my break and I am on the hunt for an internship, I will leave it at that.

Which test will you be passing successfully next?

P.S.

Dear Professors,

It would be greatly appreciated and compassionate of you to have midterms before Thanksgiving break.  I want to enjoy a stress free time eating and being with my family too.

A Preemptive Thanks,

Brittany

See the pure EXCITEMENT on my face to be finished?!

Doesn’t mean they are happy.

Standard

“Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.” -Francois, duc de La Rouchefoucauld, moralist.

I didn’t know the young man Francois personally (lol),  but this quote makes a lot of sense. We as humans, will desire for and go after something for the wrong reasons. It even starts in childhood. I remember in elementary, this girl had this magical play-dough that had a lot of glitter in it.  All of the shapes and figures she made sparkled so.  I wanted it so badly and she didn’t want to share with me and boy was I livid!!! I felt like “Wow am I not good enough for this? I am worthy of some sparkly play-dough, if she could have it so could I”. However, I didn’t realize that this glittery play-dough would leave glitter that may last for a week on your face and hands, no matter how much you scrubbed and washed. Over the next week, the girl was upset about having it in her hair (how did she get it there, I don’t know) and face because cruel kids teased her and said she didn’t wash her face. I then realized that I was actually happy now that I did not get to play with it.

Basically, have you ever saw someone else with something or someone you think you deserve? From the outside looking in you think they’re happy and/or don’t have any issues, but that isn’t always the case. Chasing after fame, someone else’s mate, “love” and etc isn’t always right. Check your intentions and see if it’s even worth trying to “possess” certain things.  Of course, a lot of people want wealth, great health, fame, love and genuine happiness but the problem is that they are comparing it to what they THINK someone else has.  We feel like “why can’t I have that too?” or “what can I do to get that?”.   A person can be famous, but never have peace…can you deal with that? A woman may be married to the star quarterback of whatever team but he doesn’t treat her right….can you deal with that ? A person can be filthy rich but battles with chronic health issues daily….can you deal with that?

The point is, it’s just something to think about on a smaller scale like play-dough and/or on a larger scale. Go after something you truly desire for the right reasons and make sure YOU will genuinely be happy.