Starring as “Uncle Clifford” within the new season of the Starz sequence “P-Valley,” actor Nicco Annan spoke to us about what numerous storytelling means to him and his expertise with #TakeTheLead, Starz’s dedication to amplifying narratives by, about, and for girls and underrepresented audiences.
Can you inform us a bit about your character Uncle Clifford within the Starz sequence “P-Valley”?
Nicco Annan: Uncle Clifford is the proprietor of the membership on the coronary heart of [“P-Valley”]. One of the gorgeous issues about Uncle Clifford is that she’s the sort of one that’s been actually blessed sufficient and has gotten to a stage in her life the place she’s been in a position to create [for herself] a fort of some types. The motif that runs by this season is how we are able to create towers for ourselves to miss our kingdoms or to lock ourselves in to get away from the insanity of the world. [Uncle Clifford] is a fierce matriarch. She has the masculine and female vitality that all of us possess. I feel that she wears all of them interchangeably.
What facets of Uncle Clifford’s persona, if any, resonate with your personal identification?
“P-Valley” is a sequence that’s garnered popularity of its storytelling and reward for its depiction of Black, feminine, and queer characters. What has that meant to you as one among its stars?
Nicco: It has meant that it’s a new day! [Laughs.] I feel that now we have a lot to vary, a lot work nonetheless to do. But I feel that as we, as a society, proceed to evolve, we are going to uncover extra work. It’s not about settling. In this fictitious world of Chucalissa, Mississippi, the present represents yesterday, at this time, and tomorrow. You’re all the time going to have characters and situations which will nonetheless communicate to the times of yesterday the place sure politically appropriate language is just not used or folks should still have an old-school style to themselves.
The sequence additionally represents at this time, after we’re having conversations the place queer folks take up house and take possession of their lives. But additionally one of many issues that’s actually particular and is such a gem to me is that “P-Valley” can even characterize tomorrow. It provides me inspiration as a result of now we have a duty as actors in telling these tales, particularly these ones about marginalized communities that don’t get advised too usually, and particularly not with authenticity. It’s necessary to indicate what a greater method might be — a method through which we are able to all coexist and the place there’s a stage of respect in each method as a result of you’ll be able to actually respect and perceive what persons are going by. I feel the present can create a stage of empathy that may present some therapeutic on this planet.
Some sequence see range onscreen however fail to have that very same form of illustration behind the scenes. How has having a Black creator, director, and author formed the authenticity of the tales you’re telling?
Nicco: It’s integral to this course of. You have to essentially be diligent in looking for and actively altering the local weather through which this stuff are created. Katori Hall, our showrunner and the creator of this complete world, has been very particular from the start in regards to the imaginative and prescient of this sequence. We’ve needed to sort of present folks what the “feminine gaze” of the sequence is, not these our bodies and objectifying them however asking: How are you able to respect the physique whereas additionally admiring the flexibility of it?
I feel as a result of now we have Katori on the helm and such a various crew, our set actually displays the world. When I’m on set and I see folks of all backgrounds, gender identities, and generations, it actually helps you keep grounded and never slip into some silo that I feel lots of people can create for themselves. This present is in regards to the Black, Southern expertise however there are additionally many alternative cultures that exist within the South which might be highlighted [in our series].
I wish to take a second to speak about #TakeTheLead — STARZ’s dedication to amplifying narratives by, about, and for girls and underrepresented audiences. From your personal perspective, what does #TakeTheLead imply to you?
Nicco: To me, it means that we’ll not disappear. And after I say “we,” I imply all of us on this planet. I feel that typically folks can have the perspective that whenever you focus on “range,” you’re speaking about eradicating or prioritizing one group over one other. And I don’t suppose that’s true. I feel it’s about various the views underneath which we see this world and that is how we are able to really develop and dwell in an area of concord. Because we’re all seeing ourselves and studying about tradition.
Oftentimes, I discover that folks don’t have the chance to enterprise or take the chance to step outdoors of their norm or their neighborhoods to see others. Through media, you’ll be able to journey and see totally different worlds. If you don’t have correct representations of what these worlds may be, we’re doing a disservice — not simply to the artwork however to our world. And I feel that genuine illustration is part of what #TakeTheLead is all about.
You lately attended Starz’s #TakeTheLead summit. What was that have like?