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Teyana Taylor stars in a movie about motherhood and life in a changing New York City : NPR


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NPR’s Juana Summers speaks with actress and singer Teyana Taylor concerning the new movie A Thousand and One, which follows a girl and her son’s story for greater than a decade.


Firstly of the brand new film “A Thousand And One,” we meet Inez, a younger girl who’s just lately out of jail dwelling in Harlem within the Nineties.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Is that Inez?

SUMMERS: Inez has a younger son, Terry, who’s in foster care and about to be moved to a unique residence.


TEYANA TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) Save my beeper quantity simply in case until I discover you. OK?


TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) I do not know but.

ADETOLA: (As Terry) Why you retain leaving me?

SUMMERS: Terry’s query prompts Inez to make an impulsive choice, one that may change the course of her and Terry’s lives.


TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) Would it not make you are feeling higher if you happen to got here and stayed with me?

ADETOLA: (As Terry) Yeah.

SUMMERS: She takes Terry and disappears into the chaos of the town.

TAYLOR: Inez began out as actually younger, motivated, bold but in addition, like, slightly tiny bit immature, you already know, in motherhood and simply, like, type of making an attempt to determine this factor known as life, you already know, and making an attempt to determine learn how to care for a kid.

SUMMERS: That is Teyana Taylor, who performs Inez. The film follows Inez and younger Terry over greater than a decade as they make a house and a life for themselves in a altering New York Metropolis, coping with a crumbling condo, gentrification, racial profiling and policing. After I spoke with Teyana Taylor the opposite day, I began with a promise that Inez makes to Terry. I am going to go to warfare for you.


TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) They’ll attempt all they need, however they are not breaking us up this time. You wish to discover a new residence?

ADETOLA: (As Terry) Sure.

TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) However I must know we’re on this factor collectively. Inform me.

ADETOLA: (As Terry) We’re on this collectively.

TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) Inform me.

ADETOLA: (As Terry) We’re on this collectively.

SUMMERS: It felt prefer to me after I was watching that that, like, she actually simply wanted to listen to him say it to affirm herself.

TAYLOR: Yeah, I feel it was slightly little bit of reassurance there. However I additionally – I feel it is one thing that she wished Terry to listen to himself saying. You realize, that is one thing that you simply consider in – the reassurance that, you already know, you are not going to close down on me since you type of see Terry going out and in of – like, one second he is there, and subsequent second he is, like, type of over it. And I feel for her, it is similar to, yo. Like, we each need the identical factor, so we each obtained to go and get it collectively. And I would like you to just about promise me, inform me to my face so each you and I can hear, that you simply’re prepared to experience this out.

SUMMERS: You’ve had this unbelievable profession, and I’m most conversant in you due to your music. However what drew you to performing, and what attracts you to the character of Inez?

TAYLOR: It is loopy as a result of after I first auditioned for Inez, I keep in mind not even having the script. It was actually only a synopsis and the audition scenes. And simply from the synopsis, I used to be like, OK, that is one thing I wish to be part of. After all. An enormous plus was, after all, me being from Harlem, so I used to be like, oh, yeah, that is good. With out even studying the script, she was a lot – like, I really feel prefer it’s, like, slightly little bit of Inez in all people. You realize? She was sturdy, and she or he was bold, and she or he was a hustler. And, you already know, that is who I’m. So I undoubtedly knew that I’d have the ability to relate on prime of being a Harlem woman.

SUMMERS: Yeah. We have to speak concerning the New York of all of it. I imply, as you talked about, you might be from Harlem, and the way in which that we expertise the town adjustments over time. I imply, the skyline tells a narrative. The streets inform a narrative, the companies that open, the landlords, the voices of New York’s mayors that you simply hear. What was it like for you being in a film that’s simply, like, so New York to its core?

TAYLOR: It was superb. And what’s loopy is I additionally obtained to additional study loads of the issues that I used to be too younger to essentially perceive as a result of, you already know, in ’96 I used to be little Terry’s age. I used to be actually 6 in ’96. So loads of the issues that have been taking place in that point, both I used to be too younger to essentially all the way in which perceive or, you already know, type of simply in these preteen years the place I wasn’t paying consideration. So I additionally was capable of type of, like, relearn quite a bit, like, very – you already know, in an in depth method about what was occurring in New York. And to know that loads of the issues that have been occurring then continues to be occurring now in my grownup years – it is type of loopy.

SUMMERS: Has it in any respect modified the way in which you view your metropolis?

TAYLOR: It undoubtedly did. You realize what I am saying? It is simply, like – particularly, like, making an attempt to, like, you already know, push my folks out. Like, that was loopy. Like, that passive aggressiveness that was occurring was arduous to observe.


TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) We’ve got no rest room, no bathe, Jerry. We’ve got no range, Jerry.

MARK GESSNER: (As Jerry) This constructing is simply too previous. I are available and repair one thing, I obtained to come back again a pair months later.

TAYLOR: (As Inez de la Paz) There’s obtained to be an alternative choice.

GESSNER: (As Jerry) You could possibly depart.

TAYLOR: Simply realizing how a lot of the wonder and rawness was taken away from Harlem. You realize what I am saying? After all, Harlem goes to eternally be lovely, however sure issues that simply ought to have by no means been touched being touched was simply, like, loopy.

SUMMERS: So the story touches on loads of completely different areas and loads of completely different systemic points in our society, even from the very starting, after we see Inez struggling to simply even discover a place for her son and her to reside. Are you able to discuss slightly bit concerning the completely different points that this film focuses on?

TAYLOR: I feel the film focus in how simply unprotected Black ladies are – it actually simply type of reveals that you simply actually solely do get one mother. You realize what I am saying? And the way an individual – a person can stroll, you already know, out and in that door, however you are still left to be a mother. You are still left to do all of the heavy lifting. And it additionally targeted on, like, you already know, a robust girl having a voice, and the identical factor that possibly they as soon as like is identical factor that is getting used towards her. So I feel it hits on loads of various things. It hits on the identical police brutality that’s nonetheless occurring in the present day. It is hitting on the identical financial, you already know, issues which can be occurring. It is actually actually all the identical routine that’s simply not altering. And it is actually exhibiting that, if something, not a lot has modified in any respect.

SUMMERS: Yeah. You realize, with out giving freely any spoilers, the query that I really feel like I used to be left with fascinated by on the finish of the movie is the query of the way you construct a household and the lengths an individual will go to guard it. What do you suppose the overlying message on this movie is?

TAYLOR: I feel the general factor is simply, like, a mom’s love. You realize, it is actually only a love story to all of the mothers on the market that’s hustling and doing no matter they obtained to do to make ends meet to present their children a life that they weren’t capable of have. You realize what I am saying? I feel that that is all the time the last word purpose. You realize what I am saying? You need your child to be higher than you. You need your child to have, you already know, a vivid future forward of them. You realize, these are the issues that we work for. It doesn’t matter what standing, who you might be, these are the issues that we work for to supply our youngsters with, you already know, a greater life. And I feel that is what it is actually about and simply, you already know, telling all of the mamas to maintain their head up and preserve going and simply do not enable anyone to knock you down. Proceed to be sturdy. Proceed to make use of your voice. Like, do not feel such as you obtained to, you already know, reduce your self or flip your quantity down for anyone.

SUMMERS: Teyana Taylor stars as Inez within the film “A Thousand And One.” Thanks a lot for being right here.

TAYLOR: No drawback. Thanks.


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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its ultimate kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could differ. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.


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