WATCH: Tituss Burgess and Da’Vine Joy Randolph dish on ‘Dolemite’ and representation in Hollywood
If you’ve seen Dolemite Is My Name then you know that Tituss Burgess and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are the heart of the star-studded film. theGrio caught up with the stars to discuss their roles in the film and the mark they’re making in Hollywood when it comes to representation.
In the Netflix film that hit the streamer on October 25, Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
Tituss Burgess plays eventual Dolemite producer Theodore Toney — and says he became aware of Moore when he was five or six years old. “I’m from the country, and my family — my mom, my aunts, my uncles — watched all of the Dolemite films,” he said. “They’d pop their beers, and out into the sunshine we kids would go while they were rolling with laughter.”
Tony nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph portrays Lady Reed, a single mom plucked from a barstool to become Moore’s protégé.
“She’s the voice of reason. She’s the heart,” said Randolph whose character’s relationship with Moore adds a layer of love to the hilarious tale. “There’s a level where it’s maternal, it’s affectionate. He needs that sounding board when he feels insecure, just being black in this time period when predominantly white record companies or production companies didn’t want to buy into him.”
Both Randolph and Burgess have carved out their own lanes in the industry, unapologetically succeeding in Tinseltown despite the fact that they don’t fit into the typical Hollywood box. The talented duo described the double-standards ever-present for Black actors and how they hope their work will set them apart in our sit down interview.
Check it out above.
Dolemite Is My Name is streaming now on Netflix.