Vivica A. Fox, Tyson Beckford & Robert Ri’chard – The ‘Chocolate City’ interview

Vivica A. Fox, Tyson Beckford & Robert Ri’chard – The ‘Chocolate City’ interview

Kam Williams | 6/2/2015, 4:22 p.m.

Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Vivica A. Fox, Tyson Beckford and Robert Ri’chard co-star in “Chocolate City,” which revolves around a cash-strapped college kid (Richard) who hides from his mother (Fox) the fact that he’s moonlighting as an exotic dancer at a neighborhood nightclub on ladies’ night.

Kam Williams: Children’s book author Irene Smalls. She asks: “What interested each of you in Chocolate City?”

Tyson Beckford: I’ll answer first, since I was the first to sign on. What interested me was the script. I loved how the characters showed their emotions. It made me feel for Robert’s character [Michael], because I’ve been through that as a college student trying to make my way through life. And I did the whole topless waiter thing in a male revue before, so I knew I could connect with it. In addition, I found the idea of Jean-Claude [director Jean-Claude La Marre] building an entire cast around me kind of intriguing. I was eager to see what he would come up with. So, that’s why I jumped in.

Vivica A. Fox: I’ll be very honest with you, Kam. I had worked with Jean-Claude before and, when I heard that he was doing this, I went to see “Magic Mike.” And I went, “Wow! How crazy is it that they don’t have any African-Americans in this?” I felt that whoever makes this film African-American will win. Jean-Claude let me know he wanted me to play the mom and, when he told me about the cast, I said, “I’m so totally in for this.” I’ve seen it, and it’s awesome. It’s a feel-good, girl’s night out film that everybody will enjoy.

KW: And why’d you do the film, Robert?

Richard Ri’chard: The first time I ever modeled, I walked the runway with Tyson. And he let me walk in front of him. He was the man! I was like, “This is my dude!” So, when I was approached about working with him for a whole movie, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I just said, “Count me in.”

KW: Is there any truth to the rumor that you two are an item since making this movie?...

VAF: [Laughs] We’re having fun, but let me set the record straight. No, it’s not true. It was my first time working with him. And our scenes were so intense that everybody was like, “Wow! They have a major connection with each other.” But it was literally mutual respect as actors. There’s no romance going on….

KW: What advice do you have for guys who want to follow into your footstep in modeling and for those who want to be involved in modeling?

TB: That’s tough to answer, because you have to be cut from a certain type of cloth. You have to be a certain height, build and a have a certain look. You can’t just wake up and decide to model one day. It’s hard to explain, but getting into the business is all about the features. …

KW: Rev. Florine Thompson asks: How do you maintain centered spiritually?

VAF: For me, it’s by keeping things simple, as far as the crowd of people that I’m around. I’ve also really learned to focus on family, and on how to be happy with myself from within.

RR: I come from a very religious family and, for me, the key is my family unit which supports me and keeps me grounded when it comes to just giving it up to God, and putting God first.

TB: I might not go to church as much as I should, but I walk with God every day. I speak to Him, I ask Him for things, and what I can do for Him. And we have a fair trade that has worked out for me.