The talented and beautiful Tracy Oliver is an actress and writer. Tracy along with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris wrote the screenplay for Barbershop 3. She also wrote episodes for the ABC series The Neighbors. And she produced, wrote for, and acted in the popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
On the set of “Barbershop 3” [from left to right]: Malcolm D Lee, Eve, Robert Teitel, Tracy Oliver, and Common
Barbershop 3 is set to be released on February 19, 2016. How excited are you to have your work appearing on the Big Screen?
Incredibly excited. I was a high school student in South Carolina when the first movie was released. I never imagined I would one day be writing the sequel! It’s been such a crazy and blessed experience. The majority of the time when you sell a movie to a studio, it either won’t ever get made or stays in development for years. Kenya and I wrote the script in just a couple of months and then it went into production a few months later. This almost never happens, so we were both pretty excited!
Tracy Oliver and Ice Cube
You are currently working on a new project with Malcolm D. Lee, Will Packer, and Kenya Barris. What can you say about it?
I can’t say much about the plot, but it’s an exciting reunion for Malcolm, Kenya, and myself. I can say it’s a fun, female-driven comedy with meaty roles for women of color.
Kenya Barris at the “Black-ish” ATAS Event, Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, CA 04-17-15
Being a native of South Carolina, what are your thoughts about the recent events there?
My heart aches for the nine people in Charleston who lost their lives so violently and senselessly in a church, of all places. That could have easily been my mom or dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, as most of my family still lives there. For years I have been against the confederate flag being on the state house grounds. I, along with thousands of other people, marched in high school to protest the confederate flag being flown on top of the state house. I’m still hopeful that they will remove the flag from the grounds altogether. To me, it is a symbol of hatred and has no place in 2015.
The Reverend Clementa Pinckney speaking at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on December 31, 2012. Pinckney was one of only two votes in the state senate opposing the latest South Carolina voter ID law designed to limit the franchise for black and brown people.
Do people still treat you badly because of your Awkward Black Girl character?
They used to! But not so much anymore. Once people usually speak to me for more than a few minutes, they realize that I’m nothing like Nina.
Tracy Oliver as Nina on “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”
How often to you get to see the cast members from ABG?
We don’t see each other as much as we used to when were in production, but we try to make the effort to stay in touch socially as much as we can.
Tracy Oliver and Issa Rae at Google.
Any advice for people looking to break into the entertainment business?
If you’re looking to become a writer, it’s important to study the craft. Either enroll in some kind of screenwriting class if you have access to one or buy some screenwriting books online and glean what you can from those. I also recommend reading great scripts, so you can get a feel for structure, format, and good dialogue. Luckily, there are many sites that offer pdfs of scripts online, so it’s pretty easy to get access to screenplays for reading purposes. After you get a good handle on how to write a script, the best thing to do is write. And write. And keep writing. I’ve learned so much just from the practice of writing. The more you do it, just like anything, you will continue to get better and faster at it. Last piece of advice is to stay positive. The entertainment business is a tough road with lots of disappointments and rejections, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen quickly.
Barbershop: The Next Cut
In theaters April 15, 2016
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