Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): First, allow me to congratulate you on the release of Black Coffee. I was instantly drawn to your character, “Robert”, because he tells the story of the average Black man in America struggling to make a way for himself with the odds against him. When you were first presented with the script, what was it that grabbed your attention and ultimately won you over to play this role?
Darrin D. Henson (DH): When I was presented the script the original version was called Black Coffee: No Sugar No Cream, and after reading the script I loved the premise and the idea of an independent, cultivated, educated black man and woman. The ability to overcome oneself and grow in this world is a story that needed to be on screen; a story about someone who decided to be strong, independent and win.
EM: Although relationships and love play a major part in Black Coffee, it is void of sexually suggestive content and imagery. Why do you believe it was important to bypass that in telling this particular story?
DH: When delivering a character to the audience it is not always imperative to show sexuality. The audience is very smart. It can be suggested that these two people will have made some form of sexual advancements, but it is not always necessary to do so physically on screen. It’s important, because there are other aspects of life that we have to deal with and the physical normally is the least important. Yet, when people are driven by their spirit and a proper mentality, the physical advancements fall right into place so it was unnecessary to play that on screen.
EM: Your character falls on hard times after being fired from a company his father built from the ground up. On top of that his girlfriend leaves him as a result of losing his job. Depending on the amount of money he was making he could have seen selling coffee as a shot to his ego and beneath him. How does he show the importance of recognizing great opportunities/rewards within struggle? What is the importance of humility as it relates to struggle?
DH: I think we can see ourselves and Robert as men who may have an opportunity but don’t actually see the opportunity until later. The audience might be able to identify with that also. I think by loving our family, even though reluctantly wanting to do so, we find the importance of bonding with family and assisting with family can also help us find ourselves. I think Robert did that when he was put into a serendipitous situation just by helping his cousin. It was exciting to see a new chance performed. Because you were helping someone else grow, I think that we also help ourselves.
Having humility and being humble will help transform a person. It allows one’s mind to be easy and to receive information that can be used for oneself and for other people. The best way to do that is by being humble, listening and making a decision. Therefore, humility is very important in one’s process for growth.
EM: Gabrielle Dennis who plays “Morgan”, the new interest and inspiration to “Robert”, represents the importance of having a supportive friend as well as qualities to value in a potential wife. What lesson can women learn from Black Coffee as it relates to the struggle of Black men striving to be builders and not beggars?
DH: Gabrielle did an amazing job, in my opinion, playing Morgan. It was inviting to see a woman of color in a position as a businesswoman who is growing her own business in the present day environment in America. It was inviting to see her make decisions and choices that correspond with her. It was also inspirational, and through that alone Robert listened to Morgan, and she assisted him in making the choice to become a business owner. There are people who can inspire you and people who will take the time to assist in teaching you to help you overcome your fears. It is imperative, and those two people gathered together can build empires. Let that be a lesson to all who read this interview.
EM: What do you hope viewers will take away with them after watching Black Coffee? How do you believe this message will impact the Black Community?
DH: My hope is that people will go out and support themselves by supporting this film. My hope is that people can see themselves in this character and that they learn something about themselves. My hope is that people will choose to be better today than they were yesterday. My hope is that people will give themselves permission to grow. My hope is that this movie will affect people’s lives to change for the better by taking action.
EM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DH: Thank you to all of the readers for their support in my career thus far. Thank you for supporting my books, Intimate Thoughts and The Speed of Change. I invite you to read my new book Ain’t That the Truth: Inviting Truth and Love into Your Life, which can be ordered at DarrinHenson.com . You can follow me on Twitter @MrDHen as well as Facebook.
May God bless you and your families.
EM: Everyone be sure to make plans this weekend to check out Black Coffee, which will be featured in Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and D.C.
Official Trailer Below!