Tyrese Gibson Talks ‘Star’ and Families Who Disown LGBTQ Children

     February 15, 2017

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The next episode of the Fox series Star, entitled “Mama’s Boy,” is the most controversial of the season, thus far, and will surely spark conversation, as it explores what can happen if your own family doesn’t want to accept the fact that you’re transgender. While Carlotta (Queen Latifah) seems to be more and more confused about how to find common ground with her own child, Cotton (Amiyah Scott) agrees to meet with Pastor Harris (Tyrese Gibson), hoping to mend her relationship with her mother. But when that meeting becomes something that Cotton wasn’t expecting, the result could be truly tragic.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actor Tyrese Gibson talked about why this was such an uncomfortable episode to shoot, the reality of families who disown their children for who they are, wondering how he would deal with one of his own children being gay, why he wanted to follow show creator Lee Daniels on this journey, how he hopes they don’t upset the LGBT community with this portrayal, and why he would like this series to create a new perception of him, as an actor. He also talked about being a part of the Fast & Furious franchise, how much bigger the films keep getting, and how because it’s a franchise that the fans want to see, they’ll keep giving them exactly what they want.

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Image via Fox

Collider: Congrats on such great work as Pastor Harris on Star! This is such an interesting character, and he just keeps getting more interesting, as we get to see more of him.

TYRESE GIBSON: Thank you very much! Thank you for tuning in. It’s good to know that somebody is watching. I really hope that people give this show a shot. There’s a lot of TV happening right now, and the competition is real thick. The market is saturated. We’ve gotta pull in the fans and the eyeballs, and this next episode would be the episode to get to know Star.

What can you say to tease what we’ll see of him on this next episode, and the role that he’ll be playing in this very intense looking storyline?

GIBSON: This next episode, they’re dubbing it as the most controversial that’s ever been said on TV. It was uncomfortable to shoot and it’s, for sure, going to be uncomfortable to watch. When you think about life, there’s a lot of very uncomfortable things that take place in people’s homes, offices and churches, and the cameras are not always there. You might hear about it, but the cameras are not always there. So, Lee Daniels, who is openly gay, has decided to look at this moment as art. We all ended up hugging because it was so emotional to shoot. This character, named Cotton, who is the transgender on the show is really a transgender. She lives that, every day. She didn’t just audition for this role. It’s real for her.

This was a situation that really hit home, where for anyone who decides to not only become homosexual, lesbian, gay, or whatever that choice is, there’s a lot of people that may try to talk you out of it. There’s a lot of peer pressure and judgement, and there are a lot of families that have disowned people for what they’ve decided to do that makes them happy. If she was an actor, she would have come to the set acting. But the fact that this was a man who, at some point, decided to become a woman and now she’s on this show, we’re grabbing the bull by the horns and really dealing with the topic of something that she probably experienced at home. I often think about Bruce Jenner. Everybody thinks about the outcome, but how many people in the family tried to talk him out of it? How many people in the family said, “You need to go to therapy and counseling,” and tried to get the prayers and pastors to come over to the house to talk to Bruce Jenner to try to talk him out of something that his heart desired and that ultimately would make him happy. It’s like putting cameras there for the moment before the moment. So, this week is going to be uncomfortable.


Television