Actress and comedian Niecy Nash has had a long career that is still growing, having just wrapped up her own starring turn in the TNT show Claws and finally tackling more dramatic roles like in When They See Us. Even after having starred in such shows tackling issues like that, Nash still is unable to find the words to say about how the state of America affects her own children, recently coming to terms with this again.
Nash recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an interview for their ‘How I’m Living Now’ series, which is a regular series that focuses on how Hollywood’s writers, actors, directors, executives and others are living and working in these challenging times. With production shut down still in Hollywood, the Mrs. America on Hulu actress got very candid with her thoughts and also how the uprisings have struck a lot of hard conversations in her own home.
During the interview, Nash and THR talked about everything from current events, her Reno 911 cast mates, concerns as a mother, how safety protocols on set is a concern if and when actors return to work, and one of her most recent horrific experiences involving her son.
During the interview, Nash mentioned her 28-year-old son’s recent encounter with law enforcement after leaving her home, and how it felt even more heightened with the current state of the world.
“My son got stopped leaving my house last Sunday. And they pulled a taser on him for a rolling stop. And then proceeded to question him and ask him, ‘You have on a T-Mobile shirt. Do you work there? Because if you do, how did you afford this car? Because this is a 2020.’ Nash shared that this assumption of guilt is what we go through all the time, then and still, now.
“They don’t know if he was a manager. They don’t know if he was an owner. They don’t know if he had a rich mama. But what they probably felt like was ‘How did this young boy get a car that I don’t even have?’ And we fitting to make you suffer for it.”
Like many people during this time, Nash has also received messages from well-meaning colleagues who aren’t people of color and she’s found herself at a loss to help them navigate their new realizations, while she and her children are still actively dealing with it – right near their own homes.
“People say, ‘What do you think people should do?’ People should figure out what they’re willing to do and do that and not be mad when people buck back.” She added that the heavy lifting has to be done by the ones in power and with control. “I don’t know what else the people without the power can say or do. How many people can you poll, who can say, it’s not fair. How many people can you poll that can say, it’s not right. You know what I mean?”
It’s very triggering to our people during these already emotional times to also have to do the heavy lifting of educating people outside of their homes during a time when everyone’s stuck at home during a quarantine, which Nash highlighted. The true solutions and work ultimately have to come from those who are at the top of the pyramid.
“It isn’t the responsibility of [us] to tell [them] what to do and how to right the wrong. So my suggestion is you need to ask [other] people what they can do,” Nash continued.
Though Nash isn’t opposed to having the discussion with her colleagues either, right now it isn’t her main concern. After watching the latest incendiary example of people being mistreated, she’s only concerned mostly with the safety of herself and her children, ultimately.
“So while I receive phone calls where people are saying, ‘What can [other] people do?’ I’m trying to figure out what to tell my own son.”
Since the most recent events, Nash says she and her Reno 911 cast members got together and donated $10,000 toward George’s funeral, stating, ” It is important to know that even in our art, we have humanity.”
Prior to the shutdown, Nash was working on the fourth and final season of Claws on TNT.’ Although things happened so sudden, Nash shared the one important lesson she learned during the shutdown.
“I learned that I needed to do it more often. That’s what I learned. I learned the gift that time really is because a lot of times you spend it in service to others and in service to your job and in service to your children. But there is something to be said for taking a minute to sit down and be still, to check in with yourself so that you can be better in all of those other spaces.”