The current film world boasts a slew of actors and actresses that are multitalented. It is a climate which can force many to turn to writing, directing, and producing after just a few years in the spotlight. In Living Color veteran actress T'Keyah Crystal Keymah can attest to it.
PopCultureNow.com spoke with the long-time actress about her decorated career, but also what it means to be diverse in this industry -- and how she is returning to screen after some time away.
Keymah has tackled writing, directing, acting, and producing so she has been around the block. From In Living Color to Sharknado 4, she has always had a genuine love for what she does. Her vibrant spirit rings clear.
"I've had a lot of jobs, mon," she said. "I started as a very little child. When my family got a television set it took my attention away. I started producing - I didn't call it producing - shows in my grandparents living room and writing them and directing them."
"I was just putting on shows, and I never stopped doing those things. So when I was in school I did school shows and by the time I was in high school I was renting out theaters and producing shows. And I never stopped. I don't remember not being a performer and a writer and a director and a producer."
For an industry that seems impossble for some to break into it is always impressive to see anyone master multiple lanes. It's not easy and it was definitely not as common during the 80s and 90s as it is today. Keymah, though, had one lane in-particular she did not care for:
"I like everything more than producing," she said. "Producers have to find money and that is so not fun to me. And they're blamed for everything that could possibly go wrong. I love having the magic wand that directors wield, but if I had to pick one it would be performing, for now."
Keymah has been involved in the Hollywood shuffle for multiple decades, but she has just recently come back to performing full-time.
One of her return projects? Sharknado 4.
"I just started back full-swing last year," she said. "I had no idea what I was getting into. I was one of the three people who had never heard of Sharknado. They called and asked me if I wanted to come play with Tommy Davidson and I said, 'sure.' I just showed up and we had a ball, as if 20 years had not gone by. It was like we were on the Fox lot hanging out at two in the morning."
One of T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's most well known series was In Living Color. She embodied a series of characters in an even bigger series of sketches. But there was one that she would always remember.
"It would be difficult to pick one, but the first thing that came to mind was one particular sketch we did on In Living Color. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live with a sheet over the TV because I wasn't allowed to watch it. We did this one sketch that was a parody of the Miss Black America pageant that I had actually been in in real life. This one thing was probably the most fun I ever had on the show."
With real-life credits of graduating college with honors, winning Miss Black Illinois, returning to school to earn a Doctorate, and being an activist and philanthropist there is much more to Keymah than comedy.
Though, we have appreciated her nearly 25-years of acting credits as well.