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  1. I have always been involved in some philanthropic work — growing up in the church, you always had to have a reasonable portion of service to the community and to people who have less, who need a helping hand. It’s just something in my heart that I know needs to be done.
  2. There is no one American beauty or just one beautiful color in the pantheon, especially in regards to black people — there is no better color.
  3. Woodie King Jr., in 1970, had started a company called the New Federal Theatre, which was ensconced at the Henry Street Settlement. I did a number of plays there, and I auditioned each time. The plays were mostly new. New York was very fertile ground; there was a plethora of African-American plays being done.
  4. I don’t think you can ease yourself into theater. I just thrust myself into it.
  5. Folks are always talking about 40 acres and a mule, but what we need is some psychoanalysis. Forget 40 acres in a mule: sign all of us up for some shrinks so we can get ourselves right by reflecting and truly learning ourselves.
  6. I came to New York in 1974, when I graduated from college. And you had to use ‘Backstage’ because all of the auditions were listed there. Most people didn’t come with agents, so you got to see a lot of what was auditioning and when and where. ‘Backstage’ made sure you knew the major places.
  7. I’ve discovered that I am as strong as I thought.
  8. The theater is the reason I am an actress.
  9. Our joy was to do theater. And in some theaters, the only pay we got was tokens for carfare.
  10. If you can make it in theater, you can make it anywhere.
  11. If I can stay centered, I’m basically going to be living in the world a happy person.
  12. I have not tried for a career that’s showy. I have always tried to layer things in and not push it. I love an underperformance, where you’re so entrenched in who that person is that you’re living in it.
  13. I think that we’re reducing who we are as human beings to these cell phones and these devices; now we don’t even want to pick up a telephone to talk — we just text.
  14. I’ve had the luxury of not having to work because of my husband.
  15. Atlanta was a welcoming presence for a lot of artists; they called it ‘the Mecca of the South.’ I got to see the Negro Ensemble Company, Cicely Tyson, Geraldine Page, Ruby Dee, all onstage.
  16. In the theater, it’s a visceral and physical response because you move around so much. You have to do something physical to pull you in. On TV or in movies, everything is so small. You can just lock into a character and ease yourself into that way.
  17. I didn’t want my daughter brought up by nannies, and I didn’t want her to feel I wasn’t around.
  18. I think most Americans, when we’re building a character, we look at the specificity of what that person is, in particular.
  19. I know it’s a stock answer, but besides acting, I’d love to produce and direct.
  20. I did theater at Spelman until I graduated from there, and I got to work with such luminous actresses as Diana Sands in ‘Macbeth.’

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