If we focus on our health, including our inner health, our self-esteem, and how we look at ourselves and our confidence level, we'll tend to be healthier people anyway, we'll tend to make better choices for our lives, for our bodies, we'll always be trying to learn more, and get better as time goes on.
When we understand that we are a human race, what affects you affects me, what affects her affects you and so on and so on, then we'll look at this thing [HIV/AIDS] for what it really is. It's a disease that's out to kill all of us. What will make it continue is our prejudices, our ideas about it, and the fact that we don't look at ourselves as one giant community.
When there's something that impacts a family member or friend, that is difficult for them, you want to do what you can to help. Sometimes you can't do anything and it makes you feel like you're helpless, so those emotions cross a big barometer, but they're a big, broad stroke when it comes to someone who you care about. If you have compassion in your heart, you just care.
I know people who are twice as creative as I am, twice as smart, but they didn't do anything because they feared going into a room and opening their mouths. My parents told me to truly accomplish things in my life, there would be times I would have to stand alone. It may be scary, but that's what it requires.
You almost have to step outside yourself and look at you as if you were someone else you really care about and really want to protect. Would you let someone take advantage of that person? Would you let someone use that person you really care about? Or would you speak up for them? If it was someone else you care about, you'd say something. I know you would. Okay, now put yourself back in that body. That person is you. Stand up and tell 'em, "Enough!
I had to grow to love my body. I did not have a good self-image at first. Finally it occurred to me, I'm either going to love me or hate me. And I chose to love myself. Then everything kind of sprung from there. Things that I thought weren't attractive became sexy. Confidence makes you sexy.
There was always music in our home. My mom and my dad loved music. I remember when we were kids we would have these great parties at the house with congas and bongos and African drums, and it was amazing. It wasn't until years later that I found out that they were actually Black Panther meetings.
The objectification of females is not a good thing! Not every rapper does this, but when the lyrics focus solely on the strip club, 'poppin' bottles' and how many girls they can 'tap,' it distorts what kids are learning. I think if there was more of a female presence in hip hop we could break up the monotony. It's all about balance.
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I tend to share whatever I know in general. I've never been a person to horde information for the sake of my own skin, you know what I mean? Not share so somebody doesn't take your job, I've never had that kind of insecurity. I also had a management company, too, so we were always one of those companies that shared information with our artists. Whatever they wanted to know, as much as they wanted to know, they could know.
I always loved all kinds of music. I would watch musicals a lot as a kid, on TV, watch the Fred Astaire movies. I'd watch 'The Wizard of Oz.' I was a big Jerry Lewis fan, and they'd have these big bands and someone singing - some siren, or some guy singing some gorgeous song. I was always enamored of that style of music.
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When you have a family as big as mine, there are many things that affect my family members, in many different ways. It could be high blood pressure, it could be cholesterol, it could be obesity, it could be sleep deprivation or sleep apnea. An illness is an illness, especially if it affects younger kids. Illnesses affect your family and they impact you because you want to do the best you can to help your family member become more healthy, just as my family members want me to be healthy.
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I like to service the full audience of America, so I try to do things that are just real artistic, like when they don't have the most money, but it's a great piece of work. Then, there are big, fun comedies and big animated movies for kids. I want to do things for my nieces and nephews. Ultimately, we're trying to deliver something entertaining to an audience. As long as it can entertain the audience, and it makes me or my niece and nephew laugh or cry, then I think it's good.
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Two records put me over the top with hip-hop. One of them was 'Planet Rock,' and the other had no lyrics - it was called 'Numbers,' from a group called Kraftwerk. Every kid in the 'hood in New York and New Jersey was popping, locking, and breaking to that record. It was the hottest track on the street at the time.
It's not always easy to do the right thing. But, doing the right thing makes you strong, it builds character, it forces you to make decisions based upon your beliefs and not what other people think. In life, and in business, you have to stand for what you believe in and sometimes you have to stand alone. But, what makes you a leader is having the courage of your convictions.
I've been giving back since I was a teen, handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving and handing out toys at toys drives for Christmas. It's very important to give back as a youth. It's as simple as helping an old lady across the street or giving up your seat on the bus for someone who is pregnant.
I actually enjoy that I never really needed to be hanging out with every celebrity in Hollywood; I just go home and hang out with my cousins, my best friends. I'm not treated like royalty; they love me to death, but they don't treat me like royalty. So it's easy for me; they'll tell me the truth, whether it hurts or not. And I need that; I've always been given that.
Putting on your crown is really like accepting the fact that you are a queen. You're a great woman. Wherever you are in life, just keep on that path, and so for me, sometimes as women, we forget - we forget that about ourselves. So, putting on your crown is sort of reminding yourself that, hey, I'm a queen, and I can do what I want in this life and take it.
We all have to show up and do our job regardless of our life circumstances or situations. We don't have to do it with an attitude or whatever but maybe we do that day. Everyone understands that life happens and we have to create a whole other life where our life doesn't even exist. You know, our real life doesn't exist, these characters exist. And that is our life. And that's who we are.
The reality is, I like imperfection. You take away from the world when you're not yourself. Whatever is unique and special about you was designed by God. And when you try to be someone else, we don't get you. Who knows what you would have contributed to the world had you just been yourself, if you had just celebrated who you are and just walked boldly?
I approach the film business the way I feel about self-esteem. It's something that has to be maintained. That's kind of how I feel about positive roles in Hollywood. They have to be maintained. You have to purposefully, intentionally try to make the right type of films. And the more people that do that, the more things will continue to improve.