*“In The Cut” on Bounce TV is reminiscent of the sitcoms that made up the lineup of TGIF ABC shows in the nineties. The show features lovable characters that address tough topics in a comedic and caring respect. “In the Cut” follows barbershop owner Jay “The Dream” Weaver, played by Dorien Wilson, as he continues to bond with Kenny, portrayed by actor Ken Lawson, the adult son he never knew he had.
Amidst the comedic backdrop, the show focuses on Jay and Kenny’s fractured father-son relationship but also serves hope in taking viewers on the path to their healing as these two souls rekindle their bond as parent and child. Father-son images are necessary on television, especially dealing with the African-American experience and EURweb.com had the chance to catch up with Dorien Wilson and Ken Lawson to discuss why their show is starting the movement of promoting positive images of African-American men.
Dorien your character reunites with his long lost son, how significant was it to you to explore a relationship between a father and son especially dealing with characters representing the black community?
Dorien: For one it’s not shown, and I was so excited that it was a storyline to be had, I was so excited. There are so many people out there, I mean not just fathers and sons but mothers and daughters, people who have been disconnected since childhood or just coming into your lives, how do you reach out and establish that relationship. So it touches a lot of peoples’ emotions, and we’re doing it in a positive light which is great, and it’s therapeutic I think for a lot of people who have the situation going on.
Do you feel any pressure being a lead actor of a show or is it a challenge you welcome?
Dorien: I have such a pat answer for this it’s not even funny, and it’s so true we did thirteen episodes in ten days. Are you wrapping your head around that? Ken and I just came off of “The Parkers” where we had the luxury of doing one episode in four days, not five mind you because we had a day of rest.
We did it in four days and the last day [we filmed] in front of a live audience. [So] to doing thirteen episodes in ten days they required us to do a show and a half in just one day, so we get there seven o’clock we might leave ten or eleven at night. Then we go home, and we start the whole process all over. This is like my fifth show, but I’ve never been the lead actor, I’ve always written second or third banana on a show and to carry a show I have any anywhere from fourteen to like seventeen scenes a day. Halfway through I tell everybody somebody call a Wayans brother I can’t do this, that’s it, Ken pipe in.
Ken: The work ethic that we have is just on point; it was a lot of work to do it in two weeks. I started from the bottom being an extra. So going from being an extra, to working my way up to be able to say hello in a scene, to being on a show and going in depth with my character. To have that responsibility and to be around such a professional individuals such as Dorian, Laura Hayes, John Marshall Jones, and Kellita Smith, I feel so blessed.
Dorien: We all feel blessed it’s an amazing feeling to be working and to have an environment to come to that is so uplifting, we totally know where our blessings come from.
It is interesting that you bring up the fact, Dorien, about the amount of work that’s involved in being the lead because so many people have the perception that being lead on a show means that your life is so easy.
Dorien: Oh no no, by no means but it’s rewarding, and we couldn’t have asked for a better cast, everybody that is involved in the show, it’s like going home every week, and the family got back together. But we’ve all worked with each other and honed our craft throughout the years, and it’s great to be able to play with these guys and just have fun and get a paycheck.
Ken: Yea, that’s the great part right there.
Dorien: (Laughs) Can I get an amen!
You have both worked together on “The Parkers” what is it like to work with one another again in roles of father and son?
Dorien: I have said this before, and I don’t care who hears it and how many times I have to say it, Ken Lawson, this dude is the best, down to earth guy that I have ever met and or worked with on any series. I worked with him on “The Parkers” and we did one hundred and ten episodes or something like that. I’ve never seen his brother upset or come in with an attitude whatsoever. I can’t say the same for myself. It’s a joy to be able to work side by side once again, and we’re even more mature, so it’s great.
Ken: It’s beautiful man; it is kind of the same thing like having a mentor like when we were on “The Parkers” that was what the character Tyrell ‘T’ Radcliffe was being that Professor Stanley Oglevee was running the fraternity. But in this situation it is a lot like deeper, it is a lot more emotion going on, a lot of untold history of things. You’re thirty-one years old, you’ve never met your father, and it’s a bit different. All the history my character holds, [like grudges] those things are there and to have this show, this platform to bring these relationships out is beautiful, I could not ask for anything more than this right here. This is a beautiful blessing because I know so many individuals myself my personal friends that have bad relationships with their fathers. To see this show here, I have never seen anything like this before, and I noticed a lot of brothers are identifying with it and working with Dorien to bring all this stuff out is a blessing.
Ken, you stated in previous interviews that you did not meet your older brother until you were seventeen. How did that experience and also dealing with the issue that is on the show help you play your role more authentically?
Ken: Well, I couldn’t approach it like this guy is my best friend because of the relationship I have with brother and he had with my father, rest in peace, there are these unanswered questions. There’s always this feeling that was it something that I did or why didn’t you stay? I’m sure everybody has these questions that are in those types of situations. I’ve talked to a couple of my friends that are also in the same situation, and it’s crazy. No one has the right answer in how to mend these relationships. But the fact that we are approaching it in a comical way and still being able to bring honesty to the characters that people can relate [to] and at the same time being able to show people through the examples of our interaction as father and son that it can happen. If you have two people that are willing to open up and drop their guard and are able to have a fresh start, things can happen. You are going to bump heads like we do on the show, but [Jay] still has my back as his son and you will see that as the show continues to progress.
Dorien what are your experiences with strained father-son relationships; it may not be your experience but maybe a friend’s or another family member.
Dorien: I have friends who are estranged from their fathers and that their mothers raised them. The father is in their lives to a certain degree, but it’s not like having somebody who is at your every football game or those memorable moments because they’re not there. So all that stuff touches my emotions because I had two wonderful parents who blessed me as I was growing up and tell me that there is nothing I cannot do, God’s will and hard work and dedication and what not. I feel for a lot of younger people who don’t that in their lives, who don’t know where there are biological parents or whatever but so I use all of that in my characterization of Jay, so I hope that comes through.
What have some of the fans of the show said about your relationship on screen?
Ken: I had this one individual, he reached out to me on Instagram, he’s one of those guys that doesn’t have his life together, and he doesn’t have his father in his life at all. I believe his father passed away, and he had a void. He reached out to me and said he liked the show and by him sharing his life story with me and expressing his personal story [on] Instagram, I was touched. I would never imagine someone taking the time to reach out and say I like what you are doing.
Dorien: That’s the crazy thing with the show or what we do in general. You never realize how much you impact and touch lives out there and hopefully the majority of the times it’s for the better. They can look at this and say I can learn I can grow with [because] your story is similar to mine. I get that all the time the reaction from the show is so positive. I’m very happy about that, and I have a whole new realm of fans who watch the show, and it is exciting.
Do you think seeing positive African-American father figures on television will help shift the paradigm in our society?
Ken: Definitely, we are on Bounce TV that is a network marketed towards African-Americans, and we are telling our stories. We have Bentley Kyle Evans who is the creator, executive producer, director who put this vision there. The fact that he’s such an impactful person, he’s worked Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, he has a whole list of individuals that he has worked with so the brother knows what he is doing; he is putting out this image, and people are identifying with it.
Dorien: To be able to tell our stories is great and Bounce is doing an incredible job of representing people of color and giving them a platform. As a young kid growing up, there were very few images of African-Americans who were depicted [on television] in a positive light or cultivating a relationship with their children. Ken is so on point when he said this is a representative of a lot [of people]. I think what we’re doing is a great service to advancing dialogue between African-Americans and people of color to reach further, and hopefully, there are more roles like that are in a positive light. We’re more than just the ho on the street or the pimp.
Ken: Just the typical negative image you normally see in the media especially with all the stuff that is going on today with Black Lives Matter. For some reason, they think every black person is a part of Black Lives Matter, but at the same time, we are all affected by what’s going on.
Dorien: Absolutely, absolutely.
Ken: When we speak out it’s because it affects us and to have a platform such as the show “In the Cut” we were able to tell our story, and that’s what’s important. We have to tell our story even if it’s a comedy or if it’s the reality as we’re seeing right now.
In the Bill Cosby era, there was a generation of kids who saw that show and aspired to be the Huxtables, so when people see a show depicting a father and son who are mending their relationship, it will be aspirational for a lot of individuals in the community.
Ken: You’re looking at a character in Jay who is a business owner who owns a shopping mall you are seeing something positive with that. You see another young woman who is running a salon, very positive, powerful entrepreneur you are seeing a lot of empowerment in this series and a lot of personalities also.
What would you both say is the underlying message of the show?
Dorien: We’re not trying to send any messages out there. If we touched your lives in any form or fashion and make you forget about the troubles of the day or you take something with you that pertains to your life, that’s what we’re trying to do. [Create] great television, make you laugh, forget about the troubles, and make you think for a second. But I don’t think we’re trying to hit anybody over the head or pound anything to get across. It’s thought provoking and good comedy.
Ken: It’s a great comedy, and it’s a great family show to watch and be entertained. We have a great subject matter and story line.
You can catch new episodes of “In The Cut” Tuesday nights at 9pm ET/8pm CT on Bounce TV. Use the hashtag #InTheCut to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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