She was the mild-tempered "dreamgirl" in the film of the same name and voiced a princess—the first black one at that—for Disney, but Anika Noni Rose is neither of the aforementioned in her new role as Dr. Eva Fletcher on BET's just-premiered series The Quad. In fact, she's the once-shunned (you'll find out why), now newly-elected president of (fictional) HBCU Georgia A&M who's been tasked with juggling a school on the brink of bankruptcy, a crumbling marriage, a rebellious daughter, and a ruthless co-worker and marching band leader (played by Ruben Santiago-Hudson).
In real life, Rose is a former student of an HBCU herself (Florida A&M) and has just become one of the newest members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Scienes, a timely development as this year's Oscar nominations set a record with six black actors up for awards. She's also riding the Anderson .Paak wave as much as the rest of us.
In her interview with REVOLT, Rose talked about the legitimacy of The Quad, why HBCUs are necessary, the Oscar Awards' advancement, and even sang a bit of .Paak for us.
Watch the full interview and read excerpts below.
On how true-to-life The Quad is: I know that a lot of the issues that we are talking about on The Quad are issues that are taken straight from the headlines of things that are happening at HBCUs....We are keeping it very real....We have several people from FA&M who are teaching the band members for the show.
On the argument that HBCUs are no longer necessary: I think that...was brought about by people that want to dismantle HBCUs. I think it's amazing how many other cultures are necessary to uphold until it comes to ours.... I think that for young people of color--unless you're talking about hip-hop as a culture--we don't get to be surrounded by our culture everyday, we don't get to learn about our accomplishment.
On last year's #OscarsSoWhite: I'm really glad that the change is being seen [this year] but I really think that it's important for us to continue to push to have material made because that's where the difference is going to be.
The Quad airs Wednesdays at 10P/9C.