up all of the clothes in the bathtub? That’s got to be the most dramatic scene in the entire film.
LM: There were so many people in the room with me that it was hard, especially with this being my first movie. I had to block everybody out and really embody what she was feeling at that moment.
EBONY: What was the most exciting part of filming?
LM: I would say being able to wear the “Scrubs” outfit that Left Eye wore. The exact one. I was like, ‘Wow this is everything.’ It was like a Cinderella moment. Chili and T-Boz had all these costumes in closets at home. Chili had it in her garage, and they had this red patent leather one and I was like can I get it?! Chili was looking at me laughing like 'This girl is crazy,' but I don’t think she understood how excited I was...for her, it was something old and for me, it was something new.
EBONY: What would you say was the most difficult scene to shoot?
LM: When we shot “Diggin’ On You” I was like 'Oh my god.' That was the first time I was able to take it all in. Everything was moving so fast with the other performance scenes. Since then, that has become my favorite song.
EBONY: I heard there were some eerie things going on at the set during your scenes...
LM: Yeah, an ambulance or fire truck siren would go off whenever I did a really dark scene. They would have to shut down all the sound and equipment for it to pass, and then we would go back again.
EBONY: What’s something you learned about Left Eye while shooting this film that you didn’t know before?
LM: I didn’t know that Left Eye’s dad passed away right when she wanted to tell him that she just signed to LaFace Records. After I signed to Jive Records and just before I put out my first album, my mother passed away. It was very odd how much we had in common. I was able to pull from those experiences for the film.
EBONY: You’ve carried yourself with a lot of grace, especially after people judged you or had preconceived notions of who you are. Do you look at this role as a re-introduction of Lil’ Mama?
LM: Of course, It’s a re-surge. I’m born again. It’s a new me. Everything that I’ve been through has taught me something. When I was younger coming up in this industry, I was 17, 18 years old. You couldn’t tell me Beyoncé wasn’t my friend. You couldn’t tell me that Janet Jackson wasn’t my girl. You couldn’t tell me that once I signed to my label that me and J.Lo weren’t going to have tea in L.A. What I’m saying is that, I felt that once you were in the industry that everyone is your peer, that you all love each other and show each other respect.
I’ve grown to understand that this is a business. I understand that everyone is not going to embrace you and think it’s OK for you to be in their personal space, or whatever zone they created. You can’t just go into someone else’s section. In growing and learning all of that, I’m in a new place. But more importantly, it’s not about them…it’s about me. It’s about what I’m doing.
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a freelance writer in New York City and a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia University Journalism School. He’s also a movie and television writer for XXLmag.com and contributor for JET and DELUX Magazines. Read more of his work on his blog, MrGerrenalist.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MrGerrenalist.