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

Slow-Roll-Detroit
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Ooooh, let me tell you what I just heard…

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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!