I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the star of BET’s Boomerang, Tetona Jackson. We got to talk about the social and cultural impact of the show, its importance, how this is a continuation rather than a remake, and more. Hope you enjoy this interview and please be sure to check out where you can find Tetona on social media at the end of this interview!
AG: This has all the signs of being a breakout role. How did you hear about the part?
TJ: My manager called me and said he had an audition for me for the next day. He broke it down for me and said it was for BET and that Lena Waithe and Halle Berry were Executive Producers and that it was called Boomerang. I read the script, studied, did the audition and later that day got a call saying that I was going back in for a callback. I kept going back in until I landed the role.
AG: The show is more of a continuation than a remake, which sets it apart from a lot of other projects, but it still carries the power of having the name Boomerang. What kind of feelings did you have about joining a show with such an established name? The film is a Hollywood classic.
TJ: I was excited but there were some nerves once I booked it because it is a classic; an iconic film. There was a level of nervousness just because I knew what the movie meant to people. The beautiful part about our show is that it’s not a remake and we are creating a new story, with new characters. Even though it does have the same title and I do play Marcus and Angela’s daughter, so there are those connections, we’re bringing new characters and stories to life and that’s part of the beauty of our show.
AG: The film did have a social message, with how Eddie Murphy’s character progressed in his treatment towards women. Now the show is telling a culturally relevant story for millennials and people of color. There’s a lot of social issues going on in the show. Was this something that was laid out to you when you first learned of the role?
TJ: I knew the breakdown of my character and I knew the pilot but before we got to Atlanta, we didn’t know where the show was going. Once we started to read the scripts, we realized what the show was going to be. I love that it touches on real social issues and shows young black millennials in a real light. It shows young black millennials happy but also struggling and dealing with their problems. Going through life, day by day and having their group of friends to help them through certain situations.
AG: Your character is a powerful, charismatic, younger black woman, which is something we don’t see a lot of on television. What’s that like for you as an actress to get to play this role?
TJ: I love it. I love being able to play such a strong, confident character. At the same time, while she is this strong, independent female, I love that she has her flaws. She has things that she struggles with and you get to go through this journey with her, this roller-coaster throughout the season.
AG: The show is really hitting on a lot of powerful messages so far: the differences between generations; issues of race, sexuality and female empowerment. What really stands out to you as perhaps being the underlying message of the show so far?
TJ: One of my favorite parts of the show like I said is how it portrays black millennials and shows us dealing with real issues, together. It shows young black men in therapy. It shows a gender fluid male. It shows a lesbian. I think these are things that in our community we need to see are OK. I think there’s at least one character in the show that everyone can relate to. I’ve had so many people tell me that they see themselves in all these different characters from the show. I love that because I want people to see themselves when they watch our show.
AG: As a viewer, we’re only a few episodes in but the chemistry between the cast is very evident. The show is almost in a sense a spin on a ’90s sitcom with an ensemble cast, like Friends, only in a modern setting.
TJ: The way I describe the show to a lot of people is that it’s like a more modern, black version of Friends.
AG: For you as an actress, what’s this experience been like so far? High profile names on the project, major network, the buzz surrounding the show.
TJ: It’s unbelievable. I’m so honored and blessed to be a part of this project. The fact that Lena Waithe and Halle Berry’s names are attached to it. Not only that, I think this is a show that needs to be on TV. These are characters that need to be on TV. I love my character so much. I love her strength and confidence but I also love that we show her flaws and that’s important, because we don’t get to see that enough. I love that people can relate to these characters. You are not going through this journey alone. We are all trying to figure our lives out.
AG: Are there any talks about Season 2 yet? The ratings are good and the show is critically acclaimed.
TJ: I hope and I pray there’s a Season 2. I feel good about it but we’re still waiting to hear for sure. There’s been hints and discussions but we don’t really know what’s happening.
AG: What can we expect to see from your character, Simone, this season? Besides the professional element, there’s a lot of romantic tension being built up.
TJ: I don’t want to give anything away (laughs) but you do get to learn a lot more about her backstory and why she acts the way she does. I don’t want to say anything more (laughs).
AG: Halle Berry recently made a comment about possibly appearing on the show. Is that something we should be on the lookout for?
TJ: Hopefully soon (laughs). That’s all I can really say.
AG: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Anything in closing you wanted to say to those reading this interview?
TJ: Make sure to follow me on Instagram @ItsTetonaJackson and on Twitter @ItsTetona. Make sure to tune in every Tuesday 10 pm / 9 CST on BET and push for us to get a Season 2.
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