Welcome to the sHeroe’s Journey Podcast©, a podcast for sHeroes and the people who love them. I’m Pamela Prather and for over twenty years, I have been empowering actors, executives, and curious humans with tools to unlock their voices and tell their stories.
In this episode, I speak with Rosalyn Coleman Williams, who is best known as an actor but has an extensive career spanning acting, directing, teaching, and creating. As an actor, Rosalyn’s professional experience includes Broadway, Film and TV. She has acted with Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and Tom Cruise.
Rosalyn is also the director of the award winning short films Allergic To Nuts and Drawing Angel. Both films have been seen on several TV stations nationally and in film festivals in the US and around the world.
A teacher for over 25 years, Roz has had the pleasure to teach students at NYU Tisch, SUNY Purchase, The Actors Center, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T. MFA program), Actor’s Connection, Howard University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts and conducted acting workshops at film festivals around the country.
- Recent time she has felt ungrounded- pandemic hit, lost her job at To Kill A Mockingbird
- Brother is ER physician, was keeping family informed, telling them how everything was going to shut down. To Kill was seeing it’s audience diminish, everyone masked, no way it was going to continue in this fashion.
- Was tired or run down, she slept for 2 weeks after play was cancelled. After that she got up, starting doing things, but felt really unmotivated and ungrounded. Her husband was the total opposite, he was doing 7 different things…got them both agents…
- Started getting back and getting physical, started walking, going to beach. Got back to teaching online, gave her purpose and felt more meaning in her life again
- Quote: “I often say that to my students, you have to work in spite of how you feel, in service to the audience. So doing that, is what got me going again.”
- How does she feed herself? To be around other creative people. Get in somebody else’s class, somebody else’s talk, other theater productions. Reading scripts, watching new things.
- In spite of how she feels, students often still admire what she does and have questions for her. That “pours” into her as well
- Husband has been a rock through all of this. You have your independent time in life, your “salad days”, building strength, resilience. Then you have “inter-dependence”, and you have your power source and strength. Definitely during child raising years.
- Got married later, but when she did she felt she partnered well and had a person who could help her solve problems and she didn’t have to do it all by herself…an ally
- Trying to teach her son that having an ally is not an excuse to let your own goals be leveraged because of someone else’s goalposts. You have to want your education to help you, not someone else’s vision of you
- Quote: “Sometimes you need that person who’s gonna be more so the truth teller, that’s a true ally, that’s a true person who is on your side who is your friend who’s helping you.
- Been very painful to watch the suffering of Black people in the past year. At first she was grateful to see so many white people and youth participating. Then it was really exhausting, having to explain her oppression to so many people. So many people were earnest and wanted to help, but she did not have the answers to give them.
- She had to step back from all of that, she did not have the answers to tell people. Awareness is a good thing, of course.
- Her son has shut down from all of it. Trump did that to him, as well as so much talk about color, where he tries not to see all of that.
- She is in the generation that had to “deal” with all of the racism and how the world treats black people. The younger generation still surprises her with how they are navigating the issue and being able to ask for more equality.
- She also knew that her white friends meant well, but it was a lot to take in from all aspects
- She feels a certain responsibility to her son to teach him certain things about the world/racism, but she does not want to project her fears onto him, that does not have to be his experience, but he does need to be aware of it all
- Quote: “I have this belief, that even if it doesn’t work out, you’re still OK. Because if I leave, if i get fired, if they don’t want me anymore, I’m still me. So If I leave, the party comes with me. So I don’t have to worry about if that one particular situation didn’t work out.
- There is always “another one”, another situation, another job. Get out, move, do something else
- Quote: “If it is not working for you, in that city, in that town, in that place, in that profession, just leave it! Move! Start over! You will be OK! You will be OK.”
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