Zon D’Amour: You’ve been in the entertainment industry for a while, looking 21, though I know you’re a little older than 21…
Larenz Tate: (Laughs) A lot older than 21, but yes…
ZD: How has your perception of awards changed since you began in your career? When you have peers who feel like they haven’t been validated by awards, what do you tell them about having longevity versus recognition?
LT: I don’t believe that we do this for awards but it’s always nice when we can celebrate one another because when you put forth the time, energy, effort and you dedicate your life, again you don’t do it for awards but it’s nice to be acknowledged. So often, there are times where artists, actors and actresses aren’t included in some of your big awards whether it’s music or sports. So when we can do things that encompass all the great works that we’ve done over the years, it’s always so much nicer. And we don’t have to ask for permission for other people to validate us, it’s awesome when we can validate each other. I don’t do anything in terms of my career for awards but when I get acknowledged, that’s great. But it’s always great to see the people that I respect, whose work has inspired me have their just do.
ZD: You’ve been a presenter at the BET Awards and the NAACP Image Awards, what’s the difference between presenting and carrying the whole show as the host? Because when I think of hosts, I think of Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson’s BET Awards theatrics. Tracee sang and came down on a tightrope and Anthony rapped–they had props and tricks. As the host of the 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards, will you be singing, dancing or juggling?
LT: (Laughs) Any of those specialities? No. For me [it’s about] presenting as much of your truth as possible. Clearly the other people you spoke of, that’s what they do. I don’t think I’ll be doing any juggling or any acrobats. It is a lot different when you’re actually the host because there’s a lot of dialogue and there’s a lot of things you have to do to keep not only your audience in the room but the people at home engaged. But I’m looking forward to it. It’s exciting to be on stage to be in a room that’s star-studded and filled with alot of incredible people. I’m happy that I have the opportunity to be apart of the ceremony as the host.
ZD: When you look at the span of your career, have you done that “Denzel Washington “Malcolm X” tour-de-force role? I’ve previously interviewed you about your 1940s black metropolis podcast, “Bronzeville”. While you work on further developing that series for the screen, are you also looking for another pivotal biopic or historical role? Or have you already done “that” role and it was underrated?
LT: I’ll leave that up to the audience to decide over the span of my career, what that role was because what I might think is a pivotal movie, others might say it was something else. But I never want to stop there. I’ve been fortunate to have played some incredible roles that many people would deem pivotal moments in my career. Some of those groundbreaking movies include: “Menace II Society”, “Love Jones”, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”, “Dead Presidents”, “Crash”. I’ve been really fortunate to have a body of work that people acknowledge and feel connected to but I’m still looking for more of those incredible roles.
We don’t have to ask for permission for other people to validate us.
ZD: When I interviewed Usher about his role as Sugar Ray Leonard in “Hands of Stone”, he mentioned that he looks to you and your career as it pertains to the roles he decides to play. Who are you mentoring right now?
LT: Oh, wow. First of all, Usher is an incredible artist, smart business man and a family man. I always tip my hat off to him. He’s just a good brother and I’ve known him for years. I’m very flattered and honored to hear him say that. For me, I don’t know that I’m mentoring anyone in particular at the moment. Whenever possible, I like to have a connection with the actors, actresses, directors or producers that I’m working with and share some of my views and my thoughts, whether they choose to use them or not. But I’m never in the mindset where I’m only a teacher, I’m still a student as well. I like to listen and learn as much as I possibly can; it’s a give and take.