A Christmas Conversation with Kim Fields (Bonus Conversation with Lyn Sisson-Talbert)
When it comes to Christmas Classics, Jimmy Stewart’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin may come to mind. With that said, movies like “The Preacher’s Wife” starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington or “The Last Holiday” starring Queen Latifah are often not mentioned by some. Well our founder, podcast host, and Christmas enthusiast Latasha Morrison tackles this subject with Actor/Director/Producer and fellow Christmas enthusiast Kim Fields. Kim is not only one of the stars of the new Netflix comedy “The Upshaws,” but she, too, has added to the legacy of multicultural Christmas offerings with her own holiday movie, Lifetime’s “You Light Up My Christmas.” Join us in this discussion covering elements of Kim’s iconic career, her push to create projects that diversify Hollywood’s holiday cheer, and Kim and Latasha’s love of the Holiday season. As a bonus, Latasha chats with Netflix’s “Jingle Jangle” producer and author of the Jingle Jangle book series Lyn Sisson-Talbert.
“I still feel like there’s a lot of uncharted waters for me to explore on either side of the camera.” –Kim Fields
“I’m so grateful to God for the blessing of longevity. I still have the fire in my belly for my industry. I still love what I do.” –Kim Fields
“I think it’s an old, old way of thinking, to be honest, it’s an old game, and it’s time to come into the new it’s time to look at how the world really looks, you know, we are very powerful in our buying dollars.” –Lyn Sisson-Talbert
“I would ask my white brothers and sisters out there—don’t shy away, don’t look away, don’t run away. Lean in. Because there is love if you can get past what initially seems to be something you don’t want to see.” –Lyn Sisson-Talbert
“Our goal is to open a door for other artists and creators to be able to do more like this to break more new talent.” –Lyn Sisson-Talbert

About Kim Fields
Kim Victoria Fields is an American actress and director. Fields is best known for her roles as Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey on the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life, and as Regine Hunter on the Fox sitcom Living Single.After The Facts of Life, Fields attended Pepperdine University from which she graduated in 1990 with her B.A. degree in communications and film. While studying at Pepperdine, Fields started her own production company, Victory Entertainment, which specialized in television, film and theater.Fields also directed Nickelodeon’s Keenan and Kel and Taina; Disney’s The Jersey; and episodes of Living Single. Fields also made guest appearances on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Keenan and Kel, Cupid and Strong Medicine. Fields’s starring roles include: Martin (1992), The Golden Palace (1992), The Crew (1995), C. Bear and Jamal (1996), Music of the Heart (1999), An Invited Guest (1999), and in the independent feature film, Me and Mrs. Jones.

About  Lyn Sisson-Talbert
Lyn Sisson-Talbert stands tall as one of the most accomplished female producers in Hollywood and the guiding force behind top grossing original projects for film, stage, and books. Sisson-Talbert is producing Netflix’s first original live-action musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, a 20-year passion project she has been developing alongside her husband David E. Talbert. Sisson-Talbert’s other film producing credits include Fox Searchlight’s Baggage Claim, Universal’s Almost Christmas, both of which opened as the #1 Comedy in America, & Netflix’s El Camino Christmas. You can follow Lyn on Instagram @LynSissonTalbert.

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The full episode transcript is below.

Narrator  0:01  

You are listening to the Be The Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison. Each week, Be The Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding. We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be The Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

News Reporter  0:53  

The lovely, the amazing Kim Fields. (Kim Fields introduction audio bits)

Tandria Potts  1:12  

That last voice was one of my favorites, Tamron Hall. And guess what, Tameron? Today’s guest happens to also be one of my besties too. That’s right, today’s guest is none other than the gifted and talented writer, actor, director, producer, and CEO of the coffee brand Signature Blends by KF, Kim Fields! Kim Fields. I could go on and on but I know you’re here for the conversation between my two sisters Latasha and Kim. I am Tandria Potts and once again I am honored to be the guest host guiding you through today’s podcast. If you are like me, you have tracked with Kim fields career since…

Young Kim Fields  1:53  

Mrs. Butterworths? 

Mrs. Butterworth Sound Bit  1:54  

Yes? 

Young Kim Fields  1:54  

How come you taste so good? 

Mrs. Butterworth Sound Bit  1:56  

Well, my syrup is very thick and rich. 

Young Kim Fields  2:00  

Thick and rich?

Mrs. Butterworth Sound Bit  2:01  

Just watch…

Tandria Potts  2:02  

And if you’re a bit younger and don’t know, that was the commercial that introduced the world to Kim. Let’s start here with Latasha and Kim’s conversation. 

Latasha Morrison  2:08  

You’ve had an incredible career, I was just thinking about that. Like,  how you have blazed the trail for so many people behind you like I mean, the fact that you’re still in this. Because so many people they come and go, or you don’t see them and you know, you started out in this as a child like what, I mean, what has sustained you in this work and now to be on the other side of the camera?

Kim Fields  2:42  

Mm hmm. Well, I mean, you know, first of all, I’m so blessed, I’m so grateful to God for the blessing, you know, of longevity of, I still have the fire in my belly for my industry. I still love what I do. And you know, over the decades that I’ve been in the industry, there’s so many amazing facets that have become available that are now there to explore. Technology has blown the doors off of the industry. From an accessible standpoint, not just the creative in terms of what you can do, but where you can put it. So that’s also very exciting to me and then just, you know when you boil it down just as an actor, even though I’ve been blessed to be in the game for such a long time, there’s still so many characters I have yet to play that I want to so many genres that I want to get into so I don’t feel like I’ve done everything. I still feel like there’s a lot of unchartered waters for me to explore. On either side of the camera. 

Tandria Potts  3:51  

Some people put up a single strand of lights around their home and may not ever take them down, while others go shopping for new Christmas tree ornaments year round. Well if you’re like Latasha and Kim, you fall under the category of Christmas enthusiasts. If you don’t believe me about Latasha, check out her upcoming Instagram posts. As for Kim, she took it a step further. She executive produced and starred in her own soon to be classic Christmas love story. You light up my Christmas. Here’s the clip.

Kim Fields  4:21  

And as he would string said lights around the tree, he would begin to tell me the famous story of how his grandfather got sick as a little boy and his dad, my great grandfather Roy, would dip lightbulbs in red and green paint and he would hang those light bulbs in the tree outside of his window…

Latasha Morrison  4:45  

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about a movie that you did on Netflix because this is my Christmas special. And I hear that you love Christmas. You know, I’m looking. I see a lot of Christmas in the background. I see trees and reefs in the background. 

Kim Fields  5:04  

yeah, yeah.

Latasha Morrison  5:06  

Is that why you did the Christmas movie? Or do you get ideas about Christmas movies? You did one on Lifetime called You Light Up My Christmas?

Kim Fields  5:16  

 Uh huh. Yes, so last holiday season, we did the movie and You Light Up My Christmas. And that was just an incredible experience and a movie that I just love, I was able to serve as executive producer, as well as star in the movie. And it was just such a great experience and the messages that were a part of that movie in terms of family legacy. In terms of the parallel, you know, between Christmas lights, because my family in the movie owned a Christmas light factory, and using that as an analogy or parallel with everyone’s own inner light. And you know, how when you put your light together with others, it makes your brilliance even brighter. And sometimes, you know, life occurs, and it feels like your light is dimming and good God in Heaven knows this year has been quite the dimmer switch. And at the same time, you know, still finding ways to just your lights not extinguished, you know, if you’re still here, and even for those that have gone on, and there’s been so much sadness, and especially this year, finding, even in the midst of your sadness, and your grief and your anger and your disappointment, finding those breaths of honoring their life, honoring their spirit, knowing their spirit is still here and how you continue it. How does their spirit come out in you and your life and your light? You know? That their spirit helps your light shine. You know, and I know that sometimes it’s, you know, it’s all nice to hear.  But when you’re in the trenches, it’s harder, of course, yeah. But I think that Christmas movies, and I even wrote a little article about that, you know, even in the midst of all that we’ve been through this year socially and in justice and injustice and anger and pandemic and health and everything else. There’s still going to be and clearly is a need for Christmas movies. And so you know, even before this, all of this happened, we had you light up my Christmas last year on Lifetime. The season before that I did a Christmas movie called Wrapped Up In Christmas for Lifetime. Yep. And so this year because of my Netflix schedule. And you know, when the pandemic hit it pushed production back a lot for everyone. I was not able to go into production for a movie for this year, but I am going into production this winter, for a really amazing Christmas movie.

Tandria Potts  8:19  

Christmas love stories are nothing new from It’s a Wonderful Life Starring Jimmy Stewart to Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Most would put these films and others like it on their holiday watch list. But take another look at that list. How many movies on that list come from a cultural or ethnic perspective? Well, it’s that level of intention that compelled Kim to create Christmas content. Listen,

Latasha Morrison  8:45  

You see, I was watching Christmas movies when they first came out on Hallmark in 2009. Because I was going through a rough time I had just, you know, left a position. And it was just that I was really trying to find myself and I was just you know, it just brought joy. Like just to watch a movie that was about hope and it was about joy and peace and togetherness, and not a whole bunch of drama. I just needed that. And I think it’s become a tradition for me now, you know, to record all these and you know, I’m gonna confess like Kim, I record these movies. And I watch them throughout the year.

Kim Fields  9:25  

Of course you do. Of course you do, you better. Absolutely.

Latasha Morrison  9:30  

And what I loved about your movie, first of all is, you know, you were the executive producer, but also seeing black leads. And so I’m seeing more of that happening this year. But when I first started watching it, I was like, Okay, do they think we don’t celebrate Christmas? Right? So it has that been some of the motivating passion behind you really getting and pursuing diversity and some of the films that you’re working with and doing some of this crossover inclusion I’m seeing. Is that some of your passion?

Kim Fields  10:07  

It is, um, you know, telling a great story is first and foremost, my passion and then working with amazing actors and artisans and directors and writers who really going to bring the thunder in the skill set. That’s my next, you know, issue to make sure that we check that box. I think on the heels of that then becomes inclusion, whether it’s race, whether it’s culture, gender, because that, to me is more of a snapshot of what everyone’s reality is right now. Know, that I don’t think it’s very rare, I would think to find a, you know, an environment, that’s all anything. And so I feel like, you know, and the more the wider you cast that net, with inclusion, I mean, yeah, from a business standpoint, the more people you get to watch it, because they realize, Oh, I see me. But also, to me, it just makes your stories have far more, you know, wonderful and beautiful layers in the storytelling, and even visually, seeing, you know, a lot of different looking people. But, you know, I felt like you, you know, there’s love and Christmas movies, and I used to do, you know, one of my heroes was Dick Clark. And so I remember his, you know, Christmas specials, and, and just, you know, growing up on those as well. And so back in 2010, I actually launched a brand of holiday specials called Holiday Love. And it was scripted, with music, and you saw all of your favorite celebrities, especially your, like faith based celebrities. In storylines and things that you normally wouldn’t see them in. And you know, I also love I Love Lucy, I still do. In my office, I have a huge, huge photograph of Lucy and Desi from an Apple campaign that says think different. And so they’re definitely content heroes of mine and trailblazers. And I used to love the episodes when Lucy and when they were all in Hollywood, and she kept meeting her favorite stars. And you know, just kind of all of the, of course, the mayhem, the mischief, the wackiness and all that would ensue. But what was so great to me was, these were friends of hers, obviously, she and Bob Hope and work together for years, they’ve been friends she and William Holden, John Wayne, you know, all of these different the Marx Brothers. And yet she was, you know, pretended to be so starstruck. But it was great to see the celebrities in a different way. Here’s John Wayne, you know, who you would see in all these movies as this, you know, larger than life cowboy kind of entity. And on his episode of I Love Lucy, he was just really funny. You know, William Holden was the suave leading man. And then on his episode of I Love Lucy was so funny when she said her fake nose on fire in front of them, you know, and so I said, Well, what if we use some of my famous friends, and we put them in elements where they can, you know, kind of be themselves, but it’s in a ways that you wouldn’t normally see them. And so we did holiday love for a few years. And the concept overall, was, how we feel during the holidays. It just seems like there’s even when it’s rough and tough, if you’re angry, if you’re broke, if you’re sad, if you’re whatever, you still find a way to tap into a little cheer and a little joy, and you’re not, you know, and you’re in there’s still some degree of kindness. There’s a softening that we all lean into. And I felt like, what if we can have that kind of feeling 365? And so the idea of Holiday Love being something that was how do we get to a place where we have that kind of feeling all year round? 

Latasha Morrison  14:18  

I love how, you know, what you’ve incorporated is doing love stories with black lead characters. I think that’s something that’s needed, you know, for people to see themselves too.

Kim Fields  14:30  

Yes, now, that was definitely intentional, you know, and for all of my talk about inclusion, and you know, that not being my first point of entry, like when casting or staffing. Certainly seeing people of color in love stories is very important to me, and to see love, you know, and just how it’s not that we fall in love so differently, it’s just that you hardly see it. So you feel sometimes people think that that’s not a part of our narrative. And then this one is what really got me. Here I am playing the it girl in in the last movie I did you know, at technically 50 years old,

Latasha Morrison  15:19  

right

Kim Fields  15:20  

and playing, you know, the girl that that I’m the leading lady. Wow, yeah, I’m leading, you know. Yeah. And that just felt so great, you know and to have all the fee;s  as they say, you know where it was to have that moment of someone making you blush of someone you know, revisiting some memories that make you feel warm and fuzzy. That that concept of being wanted and desired and loved on that level. And being the it girl so yeah, you know, it really just, it felt great, quite honestly. And to know that that’s a trajectory that I’m still on, quite honestly, it feels really great. And and to know that there’s a bit of representation, if you will, and that in that way as well.

Tandria Potts  16:16  

Now, I told you, Latasha and Kim are Christmas enthusiast. So let’s be a fly on the wall and hear them share Christmas movie favorites.

Latasha Morrison  16:25  

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies that are out there? I know you’re gonna make some that are going to be your favorites.

Kim Fields  16:35  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  16:36  

What are some ones that are out there now that you’re like, I just have to watch this every year.

Kim Fields  16:43  

Yeah. Honestly, my movie and the like you said I know yours too. But I truly do. I’m such a fan of of our movie Light Up My Christmas. But other than that. I love Polar Express.

Latasha Morrison  17:01  

Okay,

Kim Fields  17:02  

I love the memories that my mother has created with my kids around that movie. So that’s a favorite of mine. I enjoy, of course, The Christmas Story,

And then some of the classics. I’m really you know, I love vintage content. Okay, so my mother and I will always call each other be like Connecticut and Christmas, Christmas and Connecticut is on. Okay, Christmas in Connecticut is on. Oh, you know? So? Because we’re huge Barbara Stanwyck fans.

Latasha Morrison  17:40  

Okay.

Kim Fields  17:41  

And I’m trying to think… I love the artistry of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas that Jim Carrey did that Ron Howard directed. I just think that was such an art, you know? Yes. Oh my god. Yeah. Production Design. That was crazy. Yeah. But those are I think I think those are my gut immediate go to, you know. Quincy, our youngest boy who just turned seven last week. He loves Home Alone. He discovered that last Christmas. He thinks it’s a kick…

Latasha Morrison  18:20  

I got an opportunity to watch even JingleJangle.

Tandria Potts  18:25  

Let’s stick a pin right there at Jingle Jangle and come back to that a bit later. Okay, let’s continue…

Latasha Morrison  18:35  

This year that’s gonna be a new favorite for me. Artistry that whole like yes, I honestly I love that. Yeah, yeah.

Kim Fields  18:47  

Yes. Every time I haven’t gone to turn it on. Because, of course we know David Talbert since forever. Yeah, mom is one of his mentors, as he always says but also Anika Noni Rose is a good friend. And anything that Ricky Martin does, I’m right there front and center. I can’t even front, listen, don’t tell me, don’t tell me. When I tell you this pre production and prepping for this new series has taken up everything because we’re just we’re working doing what we do in a whole new environment now, right? But it’s like, I feel like I’m working 20 hour days and every time I go to start it, Oh, you got Zoom rehearsal. So I am going to get to it this season and devour it. So I really believe this is gonna be on my list of new favorites.

Faitth Brooks  19:38  

Yeah. Wow. This is such an incredible conversation. Hey, don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna be right back.

Tandria Potts  19:46  

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Faitth Brooks  21:05  

Thanks for staying with us. Let’s pick up Natasha’s conversation with today’s guests.

Tandria Potts  21:10  

Okay, let’s be real Christmas meals are usually a Thanksgiving sequel, which is a lot of work. Let’s see how Kim is tackling it this year.

Latasha Morrison  21:21  

What are your COVID Christmas plans? You know?

Kim Fields  21:24  

Well you know, first, let me be clear, I like to support other people’s gifts and talents. So okay. That’s code for, honestly, Chris has always been the chef in the family. So he always does all the cooking. And so you know, we wanted to give him Thanksgiving off. So we had a wonderful takeout from Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving. This year, you know, we might really do a little something. I had a quick, a brief vision that I was going to help out and maybe make some sides. But again, I think brief is the operative word. And it’s not that I can’t cook. I don’t enjoy cleaning up. No, no, I enjoy cooking. And I enjoy serving others. But that cleanup, I can’t believe we in 2020 and nobody thought about disposable pots and pans and what the what.

You got it. You see this is two things the cook don’t clean, the cook is not supposed to clean. And then the other thing is you clean as you go. So if I clean as I go, it’s all okay

My brother, the celebrity chef Pat Neely, he tried to teach me that clean as you go. And I was like yeah, okay. So you know…

Latasha Morrison  22:48  

I was too much work.

Kim Fields  22:50  

Oh my gosh. But I do, you know, enjoy it. But I know Chris really enjoys it. And he’s so good at it. His grandmother’s mac and cheese recipe has, you know, kept this family intact for decades, a decade and a half. Even with the decorating, you know, like we have an annual tradition where we always go to our Christmas tree lot here in Georgia. We’ve done it every year for 10 years now and we’ve never missed a year no matter what. So we’ll do that. But also, a friend of mine, I didn’t realize that she and her brother in law have a home holiday decor business. And she was like, sis, why don’t you let me hook you up? And I was like, oh I don’t know, we usually do some stuff. And then we just moved into this house and couldn’t find anything. And I was like, you know what, come on. Let me support you. I’ll get on Instagram and talk about how great you are. Sure. So they’re here now you probably see somebody walking back and forth. 

Yeah, I see.

But that’s the trees that you see and all the holiday touches that that have, you know, been added to the home. And I certainly, you know, again, I like to support other people’s gifts and talents.

Tandria Potts  24:06  

You know, I’m a person that loves a great cup of coffee. Well, some of the best coffee and tea you can have this holiday season comes from Kim’s own coffee line. I admit I’m a little biased, but that’s okay. Let me let her tell you about it. 

Kim Fields  24:22  

You know, I have a line of coffee Signature Blends by KF. And so for our holiday collection we did “holiday responsibly” as our theme for this year. And so our commercials we show people social distancing with face shields, masks, hand sanitizing while they’re still you know, having some family time. We also show them facetiming and Zooming, you know through the holidays, that sort of thing. So we realize that this is such a different time, and even with our featured collection, which is a very high end sexy, sophisticated line for us within our holiday collection called Signature Spirits. Same kind of thing with the commercials. So we did like this masquerade party look, which also included masks. So that, you know, your face covering was there, your nose and your mouth, but then we incorporated like the masquerade look as well. Just to encourage people to you know, not, you know, get stuck on this is so wack. I can’t believe we’re still here. Yeah, but you know, finding those moments where you can maybe make the best out of it. You know, when life gives you lemons kind of thing?

Latasha Morrison  25:47  

Yeah. Because we could be gone. You know?

Kim Fields  25:50  

Listen, exactly. So I was excited when I saw how those campaigns came about. And I was excited with how people responded to the commercials, you know, to be able to feel like, okay, as much as we love our nucleus, the four of us, you know, we can still stay connected to your family. You know, I know so many people, you know, they made it through Thanksgiving, but some people like oh my god, I can’t believe I only cook for four people. I’m used to 30 and 25. You know, and those sorts of things. And, and just, you know, be able to make those adjustments in real time and just pat yourself on the back, celebrate that put a little stack and stuff together for you. Yeah, to be able to, you know, stuff you’re stacking with something nice.

Latasha Morrison  26:37  

I am all for that.

Tandria Potts  26:40  

Some of you are at a place where you want to pursue at least one of the endeavors that Kim has tackled and mastered. Latasha asked this great next question. And Kim’s answer lays across any pursuit. Listen

Latasha Morrison  26:52  

What’s been just a valuable lesson that maybe someone that’s up and coming that they could learn from you?

Kim Fields  26:59  

I think if anything, we kind of touched on it with what we were just talking about. Yeah, but to to pivot and make adjustments in real time. And that’s been a big one for me, you know, I’m also on this, what I’ve been calling my refresh-olution. And being able to really refresh my mind, body, and spirit. Okay, and having my own kind of personal revolution in a very refreshing way. So that was the kind of hybrid for the refresh-olution. And so I feel like when you understand things, like whatever balance means to you doesn’t necessarily mean 50/50. You know, sometimes you might give 20% here and 80% here, sometimes it’s 1% here and 99% over here. And it’s a juggling act. You know, sometimes people feel like their life is a three ring circus and they are the greatest showmen, that they are you know, the ringmaster. And that, you know, if all the balls do fall in the middle of your juggling act, it’s okay. You do have to take a breath and breathe in order to pick them back up. But you can pick them back up, you are able to, you know, give yourself permission to let other people help you pick those balls up and start juggling again.

Latasha Morrison  28:31  

Yeah,

Kim Fields  28:33  

My beloved brother Blair Underwood said to me once years ago, don’t be a blessing blocker.

Latasha Morrison  28:39  

Hmm.

Kim Fields  28:40  

Don’t block someone else’s blessing because you try to do everything yourself all the time. You know, you’ve got people in your village, a part of your team anything and they are there waiting, you know, to be given either something to do or to be able to bless you. And so you know, when we understand that, and we’re able to say, you know what, I could use some help. Having needs doesn’t make me weak.

Latasha Morrison  29:07  

Hmm, that’s good.

Kim Fields  29:09  

And when you are strong enough to let someone know, you know, I do need some help here. I could use some help here. Then you’ve created the opportunity for them to be a blessing as opposed to you trying to do it all and then you block their blessing.

Tandria Potts  29:26  

Wow, that was so good. We love Kim and having her on the podcast has been such a blessing. Be on the lookout for her new show The Upshaw’s which will be on Netflix in 2021. And you can also stream Lifetimes You Light Up My Christmas. In sports, if you’re on the same team, of course, you’re called teammates. So what should we call writers under the same publisher, book mates? Well, one of Latasha’s book mates at Penguin Random House is none other than Lyn Sisson-Talbert. Remember when I said, “Let’s stick a pin right there at Jingle Jangle and come back to that a bit later?” Well guess who wrote the book series Jingle Jangle? You guessed it. Lyn Sisson-Talbert. Lyn’s husband happens to be acclaimed playwright, film director, and producer, David E. Talbert. And this power couple brought Lynn’s book Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story to Netflix. So let’s pick up Latasha’s conversation about the literary side of the Jingle Jangle franchise.

Latasha Morrison  30:31  

And so I know the books are gonna go along with this. You know, so tell me a little bit about the books that you’ve written the name of them, and kind of like, because what the first thing I saw when I saw the movie, I was like, Oh, this is a continuation like this, we can, you know, we can tell a whole bunch of stories through this, you know, this is you know, this is Jingle Jangle but we can have, you know, another one

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  30:59  

Absolutely, I’m right there with you. The first one is The Square Root of Possible and that’s a picture book, short, sweet story based on the song that Journey sings in the film The Square Root of Possible. And I also put the lyrics to the song in the back of the book so that the kids sing along if they want. And it’s a illustrated book that’s just a short little tale about how Journey gets Jeronicus to find his square root of possible again. And the second book is a middle grade book for 10 and up. It’s Jingle Jangle: The Invention of Jeronicus Jangle and it delves more into the story of Jingle Jangle a bit and that one actually had a full circle moment with Phylicia Rashad recorded the audio book of that one.

Tandria Potts  31:52  

If you think it’s tough getting romantic Christmas movies on screen with black leads, imagine how tough it is getting fantasy fiction, Christmas movies with black leads to even be considered. Let’s pick up Latasha and Lynn’s conversation here.

Latasha Morrison  32:06  

So many in industry, especially the movie industry, the entertainment industry, why are they so slow to move and think that like, okay, if they say diversity is great for the bottom line? Number one, why do you think it’s so hard for them to get that? And why do you think it’s so hard for them to take an opportunity when we’ve seen the fruit? When there’s a black leading character? Why do you think it’s so hard for them?

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  32:34  

I think it’s an old, old way of thinking, to be honest, it’s an old game, and it’s time to come into the new it’s time to look at how the world really looks, you know,  we are very powerful in our buying dollars. And we have to just become as powerful in our content creating, and not only content creating, but you know, distributing as well. So the good thing is Netflix has the algorithms to show because they are global, you know, they are worldwide, you know, I was watching, you know, African romantic comedies back in the day, you know, on Netflix, because there weren’t as many diverse shows available. And so that to have that to see, it helps, you know, show, oh, these shows are popular, these shows want to be seen. And they keep seeing that the ratings are going up as far as how many hits and clicks on it. So this film is more than even just being entertaining and amazing and musical and great to watch, it is going to open doors for other projects like this because it’s worldwide. It’s released in 132 countries. It’s translated in 32 languages. Like I watched it in Mandarin the other day.

It’s crazy. So we all are striving for a lot of the same things. We want the same things for our children, we want the same opportunities. And with these things, we want to feel the same way.

Latasha Morrison  34:13  

Yeah, yeah.

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  34:15  

I feel like projects like this remind us of how much more we are alike than we are different and hopefully it will, you know, no pun intended, build a bridge, you know.

Latasha Morrison  34:27  

I love it.

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  34:29  

More more of this.

Tandria Potts  34:31  

This is such a great question Latasha asks here. Listen.

Latasha Morrison  34:34  

Watching the movie or the child that that will read your book. What do you want them to see and to gain from just the work that you and your husband are doing to kind of build a bridge, a longer bridge, a wider bridge that is more inclusive, you know, and a more equitable bridge like what do you want that child to kind of to leave with, you know, after they finished watching or reading what you and your husband have put together.

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  35:10  

I want them to see that anything is possible, you know, I want them to believe, you know in magic and be able to grow without having, you know, so much baggage placed on them before they even get a chance, you know, that’s really what it is just to have a freedom to be creative and a freedom to do and be what you want to without so many layers placed in front of you. And I feel like this is, you know, we didn’t know that all of this was going to happen when we were making this film. But I realize it was perfect timing, because it was a time where we needed some joy and some and some love and light in the world.

Latasha Morrison  35:58  

Yeah,

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  35:59  

I want people to feel that not only children, but adults too. And the child and all of us that may have missed out on some of that when we were growing up. Mm hmm. So it’s and also just wanting to work hard and, and do things at an excellent level.

Tandria Potts  36:18  

Our reoccurring theme has been that Latasha is a Christmas enthusiastic, but one can’t be an enthusiast without paying attention to the details.

Latasha Morrison  36:27  

I always pay attention to like set design costumes, you know, just all of those things. I was like, wow, this is amazing. You know, as it relates to a Christmas, you know, Christmas movie, and I can even see this translated, you know, definitely on stage also. Yeah, I think that’s incredible. I think, you know, one of the things you know, it’s not just what kids will leave with, you know, just for me watching it, there was like this sense of hope. And one of the things that I got from it is that you can have things that knock you down, we’re all going to have certain circumstances, people situations that knock us down that will like snuff the life out of us almost. But the will to continue to believe in the impossible. Sometimes we have to fight for it. And you can see him having to struggle and fight for it. And he had to have his his granddaughter kind of come alongside that was kind of able to break that shell. And so for me, I think it was so encouraging to adults, you know. I don’t our I don’t want to say more so than children, but all the adults that I’m talking to that have seen it, they were so encouraged and inspired by it. So is that something that you guys were aiming to, to actually hook adults into the storyline and to the, the meaning of what it means to believe in the impossible?

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  38:02  

Yes, we did. Because I like some of the best films or films that not only speak to children, but speak to adults as well. And I think that if we even look at some of our favorite films as children, like, you know, for me, it was Annie and Mary Poppins, you know, if at watching as an adult is different, because I’m like, Oh, I didn’t notice that, or I didn’t see that. And watching as a kid is another way. And that’s why in Pixar films, there’s so many layers of adult content in there at the same time speaking to children. So I think that that’s really important. And David’s great at that with the storytelling, where there’s two layers of the storytelling and there’ll be things that you can speak to your children about, like how we have many firsts listed on the buildings. You know, like I said, my mom’s name is one of the buildings. We have this hall based on John Lewis is one of the buildings. We have Edison Latimer, Latimer was the one who really invented the filament in lights.

Latasha Morrison  39:18  

okay, okay, 

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  39:19  

There’s a lot of things that are layered in there that use easter eggs as we say that you’ll find that you’ll be able to talk about and it’s details like that, to me that makes something long lasting.

Tandria Potts  39:33  

Often what makes a power couple a power couple and entertainment is their ability to execute a project as a unit with each person focusing on their strengths. Listen to this, 

Latasha Morrison  39:45  

What is that process like where, you know, he wrote and directed, you know, the film, but here you are, you know, making the literary, the books, writing books. Have you guys always worked in that kind of conjunction?

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  40:00  

Yes, we have. So I produced the film, and he wrote and directed it. And that’s kind of been our thing. I’m really keen on aesthetics. So like, okay, sign the wardrobe design. What you see is really my forte, I’m like, you know, creatively, certain things with layering, casting, you know, we just are good and balancing each other creatively. And so we’ve been doing that for 22 years now. And I think is just, I didn’t train to do this, I think is just being a woman and coming into a situation and just like how you walk into a household and you like, Okay, this needs to be fixed up, this needs to be done. You just do it, you know, right.

Latasha Morrison  40:52  

Right. Right. 

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  40:53  

We’re moms were, you know, sisters and daughters. And we just do what we got to do so I think it’s just that type of intuitiveness that I kind of grew up with and was raised with, when you come into a situation, you should always make it better. So that’s what I’ve done in it. I didn’t know it, but that I was producing and so that started my career.

Latasha Morrison  41:19  

Wow.

Tandria Potts  41:20  

Hopefully, we all want to see Christmas represented on screen by diverse, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Well, that only happens with each of us being proactive. How can we be proactive?

Lyn Sisson-Talbert  41:31  

If you’re watching this with your kids, you know, watch it all the way through, give it that thumbs up on Netflix at the end, tell your friends and family and make sure that they watch, have your movie nights, see what diverse books are coming out. And thankfully, you know, this is a great time where many of our stories are being pushed more. And so this is going to open the door to many, many other artists behind us because they’re going to see that, you know, that the audience is showing that they love it and there’s room for it and there’s a place for it. So hopefully, our goal is to open a door for other artists and creators to be able to do more like this to break more new talent like Madeline Mills that played Journey and Lisa Phillip that played Ms.Johnston and Edison by Kieron Dyer, you know, and so it’s important that we break new talent, we do new stories, we do new things and not just keep doing the same thing with the same people all the time. We have to mix it up, you know, because everyone needs a chance.

Tandria Potts  42:42  

That’s right Lyn, everyone needs a chance. This holiday season, let’s give some new movies, with new leads, and new perspectives a chance. I’d like to thank Latasha for allowing me to be your guest host today. And a special thanks to Kim Fields for her insight and wisdom. Don’t forget to go to SignatureBlendsbyKF.com to get your holiday collection of amazing gourmet coffees and teas that Kim has personally curated for all of you holiday enthusiasts. And a special thanks to Lyn Sisson-Talbert for her conversation with Latash. Jingle Jangle books can be found online and in stores and Jingle Jangle the movie is on Netflix right now. So please watch it, rate it, and tell a friend to do the same. This is our last show of the year. So, Merry Christmas to all of you from the Be The Bridge family. And once again, let’s remember to build bridges and not walls.

Faitth Brooks  43:41  

If you are a member of the donors table, you get access to today’s unedited episode. Go check it out.

Narrator  43:48  

Thanks for listening to the Be The Bridge podcast. To find out more about the Be The Bridge Organization and or to become a Bridge Builder in your community. Go to bethebridge.com again, that’s bethebridge.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and Executive Producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is senior Producer. Travon Potts was our Transcriber. Please join us next time. This has been at Be The Bridge production Be The Bridge