TYRESE (PART 1) (June 2007) | Interview By:
Eddie Gurrola Dubcnn linked up with Tyrese, aka
Black Ty, for a colossal feature that no other media outlet could pull off. We
were invited to join Tyrese as he went to a photoshoot, and he was kind enough
to let us capture the whole day on film. In the first part of this double
feature event, Black Ty describes his experiences filming “Transformers,”
which hits theatres July 3rd. He also clues us in on an important “unspoken
truth” that debilitates African-American actors in the film industry. After
this, you will get a sneak peek at some of the talent on Tyrese’s record
label, Headquarter Entertainment.
We also speak with Watts native Stix, who talks about his rock group, Life
Nine, and his hosting duties at the rap battle event “The Pit” in Los Angeles.
We also meet up with Curtains, a Brooklyn MC who is ready to become the next
As always we have both the transcript and the video for you to
check and please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to:
Dubcnn: So, you’ve got “Transformers” coming out July
4th of July, baby! That’s the Will Smith date.
Dubcnn: Yeah! Ready to take that over?
Hey man, why not? Will Smith’s been making 20-30 million dollars a movie for a
while now. It’s about time somebody new comes in and shakes it up just a little
Right now, they’ve got in Entertainment Weekly that Will Smith is the biggest
actor in the world. That’s incredible. I’m [going to] educate y’all, and make
y’all aware of something. In Hollywood, the reason why the Entertainment Weekly
thing for Will Smith is such a big deal is because Will Smith is an
African-American man from Philadelphia, and in Entertainment Weekly, they say
he’s the biggest actor in the world.
So, for him to be the biggest actor in the world, it’s much bigger than a
compliment because, let me educate y’all on what we deal with as
African-American actors, that a lot of people don’t know about. Whenever you do
a film in the U.S., they’ve got U.S. press, like press junkets, where you’ve got
to promote the movie and do all of that, they send you through the typical
[routine.] You go do B.E.T., you go do MTV, TRL, and you do Jay Leno, and all of
that. But that’s all here in the U.S. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up on “Oprah”
to promote a movie.
But, when it comes to doing press internationally, they always say that
African-Americans are “no big deal” overseas. So, if you do a film with a white
boy, or a few white boys, they’ll say, “We’ll use you, Tyrese,” or “We’ll use
you, Morris Chestnut,” or whoever [the] African-American actors [are], here in
the U.S. But there’s no need for y’all to go overseas to promote the movie,
because black people don’t do to well overseas. There’s so many different white
people, and there’s mainly white people, as they claim, all overseas, so there’s
no need for black people to go over there to go and promote a movie. So, they’d
rather just have you promote here locally. I’m educating, I’m putting you up on
So, the fact that Will Smith is considered the biggest actor in the world, says
Entertainment Weekly, says a lot about the racial barricades that have been
broken, and African-Americans being able to have an audience that actually wants
to show up to the movies, and see their films overseas. As big of a deal as
Denzel Washington is here in the U.S., Denzel Washington films don’t do
ridiculously well overseas, because he’s African-American. But Will Smith has
been able to break that barricade, and have all races…even if you don’t speak a
lick of English, you’ll want to go see the films that Will Smith is in, because
you love Will Smith. So, that’s what we deal with. We’re still dealing with a
lot of levels of racism and discrimination, even in Hollywood, 2007, right now.
So, I’ve been able to go overseas. I’m going overseas to promote “Transformers,”
I went overseas to promote “2 Fast 2 Furious,” but I’m just aware. It’s kind of
like an unspoken truth. A lot of people don’t like to speak about it, but it’s
the truth. [For example,] if you do a film with Brad Pitt, and you might be a
Don Cheadle, or somebody like that, they’ll tell Don Cheadle, “We’ll take Brad
Pitt, this guy, that guy, and you just do the domestic release.” I’m not saying
that happened to Don Cheadle, but I’m sure it has.
Dubcnn: I didn’t know that. I’m sure most people didn’t know that…
That’s what happens, man.
Dubcnn: That’s unfortunate.
Yeah, it’s a real touchy situation, but it happens, and the beautiful thing is,
when you have people that work at studios that really believe that they can
benefit from your African-American presence, even overseas, then they get past
what they were used to doing, and say “You know what? You’re important to this
movie, and we need you everywhere, in every region.”
At the end of the day, [with] me as a music star, my music goes around the
world, and it doesn’t matter that I’m black - they love my voice, and when I
show up, they go crazy. So, at the end of the day, the people in certain
studios, not all, but in certain studios, need to be educated on the power of
Dubcnn: Yeah, because if it would work for music, why wouldn’t it work for
Right, because, [if] you look at Usher, he sold 22 million records around the
world. He did 9, close to 10 [million sales,] out here in the U.S., and then he
did another 12 overseas. So, it’s like, they can’t be all white people buying
his music, it had to be everybody. So, if he was to do a film, and if he’s
starring in the film, or co-starring in the film, why would you say [that] Usher
can’t go overseas to promote the movie, when his music has been around the
Dubcnn: So, we’re gonna get back to “Transformers.” We just saw the trailer,
“Transformers” is gonna be the biggest film of this year. Right now, “Spiderman”
did some real big box office numbers over the weekend, which is incredible, but
that’s also “Spiderman” number three. I look at “Spiderman,” and I say, “All
right, everybody knows about Spiderman, and everybody’s seen Spiderman as a
kid.” Spiderman, as an adult, makes you really feel like a kid. I felt like I
appreciated “Spiderman” when I was like five, six [years old.] “Transformers,” I
was still fuckin’ with [at] around 14, 15 [years old.] I was still good with
“Transformers,” like, I didn’t feel too old to be watching that. So, [if] you
look at the anticipation of “Transformers,” that’s a childhood favorite cartoon,
but it’s also a cartoon that grown ass men still fuck with.
So, this being the first “Transformers,” and not the sequel, and not the third
one, it’s gonna create that first “Transformers” anticipation, and the box
office numbers, I’m estimating, are gonna be fucking ridiculous. So, I look at
that, and I’m like, you know what? We’ve got a real blessing on the way in.
We had an incredible time making the film. Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg just
kind of had me in mind for the part, and I just showed up to do my thing. I was
under a lot of pressure, honestly, because Michael Bay is such a big director.
You want him happy - you want him happy at all times, with everything that you
do on the set of a film like this. So, it’s one of [those] situations where I’m
on the set, and I’m like “Damn! This is a real big world that I’m in right now.
This is big fucking shoes.”
You know it’s gonna be special, because you’ve got to think. I think Michael
Bay’s films have grossed close to one billion dollars, by himself, and Steven
Spielberg, a few billion. You think of them putting who they are together, [and]
that’s like the best of both worlds. So, I think between Steven Spielberg’s
opinion of what’s great, and Michael Bay’s opinion of what’s great, you know,
that’s a lot of greatness.
Dubcnn: Definitely! So, tell us a little bit about the filming of the movie.
It looks like there are so many crazy computer-generated type things, was it
mostly on a green screen, or did you guys…
Oh no, actually it wasn’t. Like, if you look at this street pole right here, see
how tall that is? *The pole is about 15 feet tall* They had shit that could be
that tall. They had a person standing there with a tall ass stick, and they had
green and orange tape around the big ass pole, like a skinny ass pole this
small. *The size of his hand* [The pole is] tall as hell, and he’s just standing
in the middle of the street holding it, or he’ll be standing in the middle of
the street, and he’ll be walking up the street with the stick, and we’ll be
looking up at it, walking by, just so we can all have the same eye line, and
that will be the Transformer. It’s on a stick, and [then] they’ll go in and make
it a Transformer.
It wasn’t like a big ass green screen and all of that, we’re dealing with some
real top-notch, ahead of technology professionals, and I’ve never seen it done
like that, because I figured it was gonna be a bunch of green screen, but it
wasn’t. The shit that they used the green screen for, we wasn’t even in them
Dubcnn: Really? So, you guys filmed mostly out in the desert, was it?
We shot in Alamogordo, New Mexico, we shot at the Hoover Dam. They did some shit
in Alaska, and we shot here in LA, we shot it in a hangar, in Marina Del Rey.
Dubcnn: Sounds like a lot of fun. How long was the shoot for?
It was about five and a half months. I didn’t work consistently throughout
because we had a few stars in the film, but they had me to work a couple of
weeks at a time, and then I’m off, [and then] a couple more weeks at a time.
“Transformers” will be the biggest film of the summer, I want to re-emphasize
that. I think Hollywood knows that, that’s why they’re not trying to release any
films around “Transformers,” because, again, [if] you look at films like
“Spiderman,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” [and] Shrek,” - these are all two and
three, the sequels, the second and the third editions of the same film. I think
people are excited about something new that they’ve never seen before. The
special effects, the graphics…there is an actual storyline in this film, that’s
a great storyline. It’s a full throttle situation.
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