New Jill Scott Swings to Hollywood [INTERVIEW]

Jill Scott

Jill Scott is very happy to be your shade tree psychologist. She understands that as a musician—the kind who makes psychotherapy-like anthems that assist through breakups, make-ups and those real nasty moments where a happy hour special isn’t quite enough—that’s her role.

Bear with her, she pleads, as she tweaks her next therapeutic session in the form of her fifth studio album. She has no idea when it’ll be done. Because in Jilly from Philly’s world, it ain’t done until it’s done. But she’s working steadily on it. Know that.

Still, if you need a hit of something from Jill, why not check her out on the big screen?

Starting September 27, she co-stars as the sexy BFF flight attendant girlfriend to Paula Patton in the Black ensemble romantic comedy Baggage Claim. The film is hilarious and Jill is… everything you want her to be.

She’s happy that the loyal fans who flock to see her rock it out onstage at her live shows are happily following her film career. The first dozen or so responses to a social media call out for Jill Scott interview questions all had to do with her as an actress.

“Ah! People are paying attention, which is really awesome,” she says, after hearing about those Facebook and Twitter questions dealing with her acting career. “You sometimes do things and it feels like it goes unnoticed. This feels great that the audience is interested in me as an actress.”

Here’s what else Jill shared.

EBONY: Not every singer has been able to transform themselves as an actor. Talent aside, sometimes the audience simply won’t allow it. Why do you think that the work you’ve turned in so far has been so memorable?

Jill Scott: I love to act. I’ve been acting for 21 years now, and I’m into everything from Shakespeare to Arthur Miller. I really enjoy the work. It’s hard work because you have to let so much of yourself go, but I’m really happy that people are interested in seeing me. I always wanted to be a renaissance woman, do as many things as I possibly can and hopefully do them well or don’t do them at all.

EBONY: You turned in a really fun performance in Baggage Claim. What made you say yes to this?

JS: The script was good. I felt like anybody could be a part of this cast. It didn’t have to be an African-American cast, it could have been anybody. It was just a really good story, because who can’t identify with trying to find love? Everybody’s looking for love and you want to love somebody and be loved in return. I think a lot of us at this point—late 30s and early 40s—are ready. And the cast, you can’t beat that! When I was told who was cast, I was like, “Just get me in it!” Somehow, someway, I wanted to be a part of this.

‘Baggage Claim’ trailer

‘Baggage Claim’ trailer

EBONY: This is a very sexy look for you, the sexiest we’ve seen you on the silver screen. To see a sexy, curvy woman on the silver screen doesn’t really happen.

JS: I think that’s fantastic. There’s more of us than there are of them! Seriously, in America there are more big, curvy girls than there are little girls, and men love us too. We’re sex symbols too, so there should be no reason not to cast a fuller girl to play someone who is just sexy.

I saw Gayle as sexy, but I really just saw her as a person and that was just a part of her. She’s quick-witted, she’s silly, and she could care less about love. There needed to be an antithesis of Paula Patton’s character. There had to be. Gayle fit the bill so well and it was written so well. I’m always down to celebrate women with curves and I don’t think—for me, anyway—it’s all about showing everything you got. But Gayle’s a little loose with it and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being her. I wish there was more cleavage and I wish there were shorter skirts and I wish they gave me more to do because I would’ve done it. And I would’ve enjoyed it too!

EBONY: Is there any bit of Jill Scott in Gayle at all?

JS: There’s always some of me in there! But that’s the me you don’t see. That’s my man’s Jill. Nobody really ever sees her except him!

EBONY: Is acting taking precedence right now, or is it fighting against your love of music?

JS: I’m working on two albums at the same time, and it’s proving to be a lot more challenging than I initially thought. But I’m still in it to win it. I’ve completed most of the Lullaby album that I did with Robert Glasper and John Roberts—my son’s father—and it was literally the best number I’ve heard in my life!